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      Prospective study on prevalence, intensity, type, and therapy of acute pain in a second-level urban emergency department

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          Abstract

          Aim

          Pain represents the most frequent cause for patient admission to emergency departments (EDs). Oligoanalgesia is a common problem in this field. The aims of this study were to assess prevalence and intensity of pain in patients who visited a second-level urban ED and to evaluate the efficacy of pharmacological treatment administered subsequent to variations in pain intensity.

          Methods

          A 4-week prospective observational study was carried out on 2,838 patients who visited a second-level urban ED. Pain intensity was evaluated using the Numeric Rating Scale at the moment of triage. The efficacy of prescribed analgesic therapy was evaluated at 30 and 60 minutes, and at discharge. Data concerning pain intensity were classified as absent, slight, mild, or severe. Pain was evaluated in relation to the prescribed therapy.

          Results

          Pain prevalence was 70.7%. Traumatic events were the primary cause in most cases (40.44%), followed by pain linked to urologic problems (13.52%), abdominal pain (13.39%), and nontraumatic musculoskeletal pain (7.10%). Only 32.46% of patients were given pharmacological therapy. Of these, 76% reported severe pain, 19% moderate, and 5% slight, and 66% received nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or paracetamol, 4% opioids, and 30% other therapies. A difference of at least 2 points on the Numerical Rating Scale was observed in 84% of patients on reevaluation following initial analgesic therapy.

          Conclusion

          Pain represents one of the primary reasons for visits to EDs. Although a notable reduction in pain intensity has been highlighted in patients who received painkillers, results show that inadequate treatment of pain in ED continues to be a problem.

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          Most cited references 25

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          Validation of a verbally administered numerical rating scale of acute pain for use in the emergency department.

          Verbally administered numerical rating scales (NRSs) from 0 to 10 are often used to measure pain, but they have not been validated in the emergency department (ED) setting. The authors wished to assess the comparability of the NRS and visual analog scale (VAS) as measures of acute pain, and to identify the minimum clinically significant difference in pain that could be detected on the NRS. This was a prospective cohort study of a convenience sample of adults presenting with acute pain to an urban ED. Patients verbally rated pain intensity as an integer from 0 to 10 (0 = no pain, 10 = worst possible pain), and marked a 10-cm horizontal VAS bounded by these descriptors. VAS and NRS data were obtained at presentation, 30 minutes later, and 60 minutes later. At 30 and 60 minutes, patients were asked whether their pain was "much less," "a little less," "about the same," "a little more," or "much more." Differences between consecutive pairs of measurements on the VAS and NRS obtained at 30-minute intervals were calculated for each of the five categories of pain descriptor. The association between VAS and NRS scores was expressed as a correlation coefficient. The VAS scores were regressed on the NRS scores in order to assess the equivalence of the measures. The mean changes associated with descriptors "a little less" or "a little more" were combined to define the minimum clinically significant difference in pain measured on the VAS and NRS. Of 108 patients entered, 103 provided data at 30 minutes and 86 at 60 minutes. NRS scores were strongly correlated to VAS scores at all time periods (r = 0.94, 95% CI = 0.93 to 0.95). The slope of the regression line was 1.01 (95% CI = 0.97 to 1.06) and the y-intercept was -0.34 (95% CI = -0.67 to -0.01). The minimum clinically significant difference in pain was 1.3 (95% CI = 1.0 to 1.5) on the NRS and 1.4 (95% CI = 1.1 to 1.7) on the VAS. The findings suggest that the verbally administered NRS can be substituted for the VAS in acute pain measurement.
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            Cut-Off Points for Mild, Moderate, and Severe Pain on the Numeric Rating Scale for Pain in Patients with Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain: Variability and Influence of Sex and Catastrophizing

            Objectives: The 0–10 Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) is often used in pain management. The aims of our study were to determine the cut-off points for mild, moderate, and severe pain in terms of pain-related interference with functioning in patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain, to measure the variability of the optimal cut-off points, and to determine the influence of patients’ catastrophizing and their sex on these cut-off points. Methods: 2854 patients were included. Pain was assessed by the NRS, functioning by the Pain Disability Index (PDI) and catastrophizing by the Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS). Cut-off point schemes were tested using ANOVAs with and without using the PSC scores or sex as co-variates and with the interaction between CP scheme and PCS score and sex, respectively. The variability of the optimal cut-off point schemes was quantified using bootstrapping procedure. Results and conclusion: The study showed that NRS scores ≤ 5 correspond to mild, scores of 6–7 to moderate and scores ≥8 to severe pain in terms of pain-related interference with functioning. Bootstrapping analysis identified this optimal NRS cut-off point scheme in 90% of the bootstrapping samples. The interpretation of the NRS is independent of sex, but seems to depend on catastrophizing. In patients with high catastrophizing tendency, the optimal cut-off point scheme equals that for the total study sample, but in patients with a low catastrophizing tendency, NRS scores ≤ 3 correspond to mild, scores of 4–6 to moderate and scores ≥7 to severe pain in terms of interference with functioning. In these optimal cut-off schemes, NRS scores of 4 and 5 correspond to moderate interference with functioning for patients with low catastrophizing tendency and to mild interference for patients with high catastrophizing tendency. Theoretically one would therefore expect that among the patients with NRS scores 4 and 5 there would be a higher average PDI score for those with low catastrophizing than for those with high catastrophizing. However, we found the opposite. The fact that we did not find the same optimal CP scheme in the subgroups with lower and higher catastrophizing tendency may be due to chance variability.
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              Clinical policy: critical issues in the prescribing of opioids for adult patients in the emergency department.

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                J Pain Res
                J Pain Res
                Journal of Pain Research
                Journal of Pain Research
                Dove Medical Press
                1178-7090
                2017
                12 December 2017
                : 10
                : 2781-2788
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Medical Sciences “M. Aresu”, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy
                [2 ]Department of Anesthesiology, Intensive Care and Pain Medicine, University of L’Aquila, L’Aquila, Italy
                [3 ]Department of Emergency Medicine, Santissima Trinità Hospital, Cagliari, Italy
                [4 ]Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Cattolica University, Rome, Italy
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Gabriele Finco, Department of Medical Sciences “M. Aresu”, University of Cagliari, SS554 Bivio Sestu – Monserrato, Cagliari, Italy, Tel +39 070 5109 6513, Email gabriele.finco@ 123456gmail.com
                Article
                jpr-10-2781
                10.2147/JPR.S137992
                5732548
                © 2017 Mura 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.

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                Original Research

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