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      Post-thoracotomy pain syndrome and sensory disturbances following thoracotomy at 6- and 12-month follow-ups

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          Persistent pain affects a large proportion of patients after thoracotomy and is associated with sensory disturbances. The objective of this prospective study was to investigate the time course of pain and sensory disturbances over a 12-month period.


          Patients scheduled for thoracotomy were recruited. Data were collected on the day before surgery, including baseline characteristics and the presence of any preoperative pain. At 6- and 12-month follow-ups, data on pain were collected using the Brief Pain Inventory-Short Form, and perceived sensory disturbances around the thoracotomy scar were recorded from a self-exploration test.


          At 12 months after surgery, 97 patients had complete data including baseline and 6-and 12-month measurements. Almost half of the patients reported post-thoracotomy pain at the follow-ups. However, 20% of the patients not reporting post-thoracotomy pain at 6 months did report it at 12 months. Between 40% and 60% of patients experienced some kind of sensory disturbance at 6 months. A small decline in some kind of sensory disturbance was reported by 20%–50% of patients at 12 months.


          A proportion of patients experienced either resolved or delayed onset of pain. Sensory changes were strongly associated with post-thoracotomy pain syndrome, but were also present in a large proportion of patients without it.

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          Most cited references 26

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          The Norwegian brief pain inventory questionnaire: translation and validation in cancer pain patients.

          The European Association of Palliative Care recommends the Brief Pain Inventory questionnaire (BPI) as a pain assessment tool in clinical studies. After translation into Norwegian, we administered the BPI to 300 hospitalized cancer patients. Cronbach's alphas were computed to assess reliability, and factor analysis was utilized to ascertain construct validity. The BPI interference and pain severity scales were validated against items on pain intensity and pain influence on daily function in the European Organization for Research and Therapy of Cancer (EORTC) QLQ-C30 questionnaire. In total, 235 patients (78%) were able to complete the BPI questionnaire, but 82 (35%) of these questionnaires had one or more missing items. Cronbach's alphas were 0.87 for the pain severity and 0.92 for the interference scales. A factor analysis identified three factors; pain intensity, interference with physical function, and interference with psychological functions/sleep. These three factors explained 82% of the variance. The correlation between BPI pain severity index and the EORTC QLQ-C30 item on pain intensity was 0.70 (P < 0.001). The correlation between BPI interference index and the EORTC QLQ-C30 item on pain influence on daily living was 0.62 (P < 0.001). We conclude that BPI has satisfactory psychometric properties, but is not completed by a significant proportion of patients. Further research is needed to establish pain assessment tools for patients unable to answer a comprehensive pain questionnaire, to establish routines for analysis of missing values, and to investigate if pain interference items also reflect disease-related impairment.
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            Chronic post-thoracotomy pain: a critical review of pathogenic mechanisms and strategies for prevention.

            Chronic pain complaints after thoracic surgery represent a significant clinical problem in 25-60% of patients. Results from thoracic and other surgical procedures suggest multiple pathogenic mechanisms that include pre-, intra-, and postoperative factors. This review attempts to analyse the methodology and systematics of the studies on the post-thoracotomy pain syndrome (PTPS) after lung cancer surgery in adults, in order to clarify the relative role of possible pathogenic factors and to define future strategies for prevention. Literature published from 2000 to 2008 together with studies included in previous systematic reviews was searched recursively using PubMed and OVID by combining three categories of search terms. The available data have major inconsistencies in collection of pre-, intra- and postoperative data that may influence PTPS, thereby hindering precise conclusions as well as preventive and treatment strategies. However, intercostal nerve injury seems to be the most important pathogenic factor. Since there is a general agreement on the clinical relevance of PTPS, a proposal for design of future trials is presented.
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              Persistent postsurgical pain in a general population: prevalence and predictors in the Tromsø study.

              Population-based data on the prevalence of persistent postsurgical pain are scarce. This study aimed to assess the prevalence of persistent postsurgical pain in a general population and to describe associated physical, social, and psychological factors, including symptoms of nerve injury and sensitization. A cross-sectional survey was performed in northern Norway with questionnaire items covering surgery, pain, and sensory abnormalities in the area of surgery. Of the 12,982 participants, 24.0% (3111) had undergone one or more surgical procedures during the 3 years preceding the survey. Of these, 2043 had the surgery performed more than 3 months before the investigation. Persistent pain in the area of surgery was reported by 40.4% of the patients (826 of 2043), moderate or severe pain by 18.3% (373 of 2043). Hypoesthesia, hyperesthesia, or both was reported by 24.5% (501 of 2043). There were strong associations between sensory abnormalities and persistent pain, increasingly with higher pain intensities; odds ratios were 2.68 for hypoesthesia and 6.27 for hyperesthesia. Of the 826 individuals reporting persistent pain in the anatomical area of surgery, 51.0% reported chronic pain when questioned without specific reference to the surgery. The present study supports evidence from clinical studies of persistent postsurgical pain, indicating a high prevalence, but reveals large discrepancies in report of pain, depending on the questions asked and the context in which the questions are presented. Strong associations between sensory abnormalities and pain indicate neuropathic mechanisms in a major proportion of cases. Copyright © 2012 International Association for the Study of Pain. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

                Author and article information

                J Pain Res
                J Pain Res
                Journal of Pain Research
                Journal of Pain Research
                Dove Medical Press
                21 March 2017
                : 10
                : 663-668
                [1 ]Department of Nursing and Health Promotion, Faculty of Health Sciences, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences
                [2 ]Division of Emergencies and Critical Care, Department of Anaesthesiology, Oslo University Hospital
                [3 ]Medical Faculty, University of Oslo
                [4 ]Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Division of Oslo Hospital Services
                [5 ]Department of Breast and Endocrine Surgery, Division of Cancer and Surgery, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Fredrik Hetmann, Department of Nursing and Health Promotion, Faculty of Health Sciences, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Postboks 4, St. Olavs plass N-0130, Oslo, Norway, Tel +47 9322 4271, Email Fredrik.Hetmann@ 123456hioa.no
                © 2017 Hetmann 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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