The prevalence of postoperative pain in a sample of 1490 surgical inpatients

M. Sommer*, J.M. de Rijke, M. van Kleer, A.G.H. Kessels, M.L. Peters, J.M.W. Geurts, H.F. Gramke, M.A.E. Marcus

*Corresponding author for this work

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To measure the prevalence of postoperative pain, an assessment was made of 1490 surgical inpatients who were receiving postoperative pain treatment according to an acute pain protocol.Measurements of pain (scores from 0 to 100 on a visual analogue scale) were obtained three times a day on the day before surgery and on days 0-4 postoperatively; mean pain intensity scores were calculated. Patients were classified as having no pain (score 0-5), mild pain (score 6-40), moderate pain (score 41-74) or severe pain (score 75-100).Moderate or severe pain was reported by 41% of the patients on day 0, 30% on days 1 and 19%, 16% and 14% on days 2, 3 and 4. The prevalence of moderate or severe pain in the abdominal surgery group was high on postoperative days 0-1 (30-55%). A high prevalence of moderate or severe pain was found during the whole of days 1-4 in the extremity surgery group (20-71%) and in the back/spinal surgery group (30-64%).We conclude that despite an acute pain protocol, postoperative pain treatment was unsatisfactory, especially after intermediate and major surgical procedures on an extremity or on the spine.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-274
JournalEuropean Journal of Anaesthesiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008


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