Inselspital (University Hospital of Bern) and the University of Bern have conducted a major study on pain treatment in children at twelve centers in four European countries. Analysis of the data revealed a need for optimization in nearly one in four children. The research team has discovered possibilities to reduce the use of opioid analgetics after surgery as a precautionary measure.
A great need for better pain treatment
After an appendectomy, a quarter (24.8%) of all children wanted a stronger pain treatment in the first 24 hours after their operation. Among children who had a tonsillectomy, this was one-fifth (20.2%). Analysis of the data showed that this desire was primarily associated with sleep impairments and with movement pain. The lead author of the study, Prof. Ulrike M. Stamer, explained: “We are dealing with a large number of affected patients. Appendectomies and tonsillectomies are the most common operations performed on children overall. Just under a quarter of these cases strongly signal a desire for improvement”.
A comprehensive, multicentre study
This study is based on the international pain registry “PAIN OUT infant”, which was established in 2015 to track the quality of postoperative pain management in children. The study included 472 children with appendectomies and 466 children with tonsillectomies. More pain-related impairments and side effects were reported in children who wanted a stronger pain treatment. They also received more opioids postoperatively (on average 81 versus 50 micrograms per kilogram of body weight).
Surprising result shows the way to optimisation
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