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      Association between self-perceived pain sensitivity and pain intensity after cardiac surgery

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          Background and purpose

          Cardiac surgical pain remains a clinical challenge affecting about 40% of individuals in the first six months post-cardiac surgery, and continues up to two years after surgery for about 15–20%. Self-perceived sensitivity to pain may help to identify individuals at risk for persistent cardiac surgical pain to optimize health care responses. The purpose of this study was to assess the relationship between self-perceived pain sensitivity assessed by the Pain Sensitivity Questionnaire (PSQ) and postoperative worst pain intensity up to 12 months after cardiac surgery. Sex differences in baseline characteristics and the PSQ scores were also assessed.


          This study was performed among 416 individuals (23% women) scheduled for elective coronary artery bypass graft and/or valve surgery between March 2012 and September 2013. A secondary data-analysis was utilized to explore the relationship between preoperative PSQ scores and worst pain intensity rated preoperatively, across postoperative Days 1–4, at 2 weeks, and at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months post-surgery. Linear mixed model analyses were performed to estimate changes in pain intensity during 1-year follow-up.


          The mean (±standard deviation) PSQ-total score was 3.3±1.4, with similar scores in men and women. The PSQ-total score was significantly associated with higher worst pain intensity ratings adjusted for participant characteristics ( p=0.001).


          Use of the PSQ before surgery may predict cardiac surgical pain intensity. However, previous evidence is limited and not consistent, and more research is needed to substantiate our results.

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          Most cited references 36

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          The Self-Administered Comorbidity Questionnaire: a new method to assess comorbidity for clinical and health services research.

          To develop the Self-Administered Comorbidity Questionnaire (SCQ) and assess its psychometric properties, including the predictive validity of the instrument, as reflected by its association with health status and health care utilization after 1 year. A cross-sectional comparison of the SCQ with a standard, chart abstraction-based measure (Charlson Index) was conducted on 170 inpatients from medical and surgical care units. The association of the SCQ with the chart-based comorbidity instrument and health status (short form 36) was evaluated cross sectionally. The association between these measures and health status and resource utilization was assessed after 1 year. The Spearman correlation coefficient for the association between the SCQ and the Charlson Index was 0.32. After restricting each measure to include only comparable items, the correlation between measures was stronger (Spearman r = 0.55). The SCQ had modest associations with measures of resource utilization during the index admission, and with health status and resource utilization after 1 year. The SCQ has modest correlations with a widely used medical record-based comorbidity instrument, and with subsequent health status and utilization. This new measure represents an efficient method to assess comorbid conditions in clinical and health services research. It will be particularly useful in settings where medical records are unavailable.
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            Pain sensitivity can be assessed by self-rating: Development and validation of the Pain Sensitivity Questionnaire.

            Experimental determination of pain sensitivity has received increasing attention because of emerging clinical applications (including prediction of postoperative pain and treatment response) and scientific implications (e.g. it has been proposed that above-average pain sensitivity is a risk factor for the development of chronic pain disorders). However, the use of experimental pain sensitivity assessment on a broad scale is hampered by its requirements on time, equipment and human resources and the fact that it is painful for the tested subject. Alternatives to experimental pain testing are currently lacking. Here we developed a self-rating instrument for the assessment of pain sensitivity, the Pain Sensitivity Questionnaire (PSQ) that is based on pain intensity ratings of daily life situations and takes 5-10min to complete. Adequate reliability of the PSQ was confirmed in 354 subjects. In a validation study comprising 47 healthy subjects, the results of comprehensive experimental pain testing, including different modalities (heat, cold, pressure, and pinprick) and different measures (pain thresholds, pain intensity ratings), were compared to the results of the PSQ. PSQ scores were significantly correlated to experimental pain intensity ratings (r = 0.56, p < 0.001) but not to pain thresholds (r = 0.03). Prediction of experimental pain intensity ratings by the PSQ was better than by pain-associated psychological factors (pain catastrophizing, depression, anxiety). This shows that the PSQ may be a simple alternative to experimental pain intensity rating procedures in healthy subjects and makes the PSQ a highly promising tool for clinical and experimental pain research.
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              Individual differences in pain: understanding the mosaic that makes pain personal.


                Author and article information

                J Pain Res
                J Pain Res
                Journal of Pain Research
                Journal of Pain Research
                Dove Medical Press
                01 August 2018
                : 11
                : 1425-1432
                [1 ]Department of Research and Development, Division of Emergencies and Critical Care, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway, anki@ 123456oslomet.no
                [2 ]Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada, anki@ 123456oslomet.no
                [3 ]Center for Patient Centered Heart and Lung Research, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Division of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Diseases, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
                [4 ]Oslo Centre for Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Research Support Services, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
                [5 ]OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University, Faculty of Health Sciences, Institute of Nursing, Oslo, Norway
                [6 ]Institute of Health and Society, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Ann Kristin Bjørnnes, Department of Research and Development, Division of Emergencies and Critical Care, Oslo University Hospital, Ullevål, PO Box 4956 Nydalen, 0424 Oslo, Norway, Tel +47 901 34 535, Email anki@ 123456oslomet.no
                © 2018 Bjørnnes et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Original Research


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