The aim of this study was to evaluate the management of postoperative pain at the Niamey National Hospital.
A prospective study was conducted in the Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care at the Niamey National Hospital from March to June, 2009. Data collected included age, sex, literacy, American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) physical status classification, type of anesthesia, type of surgery, postoperative analgesics used, and the cost of analgesics. Three types of pain assessment scale were used depending on the patient’s ability to describe his or her pain: the verbal rating scale (VRS), the numerical rating scale (NRS), or the visual analog scale (VAS). Patients were evaluated during the first 48 hours following surgery.
The sample included 553 patients. The VRS was used for the evaluation of 72% of patients, the NRS for 14.4%, and the VAS for 13.6%. Of the VRS group, 33.9%, 8.3%, and 2.1% rated their pain as 3 or 4 out of 4 at 12, 24, and 48 hours postoperatively, respectively. For the NRS group, 33.8%, 8.8%, and 2.5% rated their pain as greater than 7 out of 10 at 12, 24, and 48 hours postoperatively, respectively. For the VAS group, 29.3%, 5.4%, and 0% rated their pain as greater than 7 out of 10 at 12, 24, and 48 hours postoperatively, respectively.
Postoperative pain assessment and management in developing countries has not been well described. Poverty, illiteracy, and inadequate training of physicians and other health personnel contribute to the underutilization of postoperative analgesia. Analysis of the results gathered at the Niamey National Hospital gives baseline data that can be the impetus to increase training in pain management and to establish standardized protocols.