Pain after orthopaedic surgery: differences in patient reported outcomes in the United Statesvsinternationally. An observational study from the PAIN OUT dataset

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Background:A previous PAIN OUT study found that American orthopaedic-surgical patients rated ‘worst pain’ higher than did similar European patients. This study aims to confirm these findings in a larger, international patient sample, explore whether risk factors for greater postoperative pain exist disproportionately in the American population, and confirm the findings for one procedure.Methods:Surveyors collected patient reported outcomes (PROs) and perioperative pain management practices using PAIN OUT methodology. Most PROs used 11-point numerical rating scales (0=null, 10=worst possible). Risk factors included: female gender, younger age, high BMI, chronic pain, and opioid use before surgery. Initial analysis used a mixed patient cohort. A secondary analysis used only patients undergoing total knee replacement (TKR). Inference was based primarily on effect size using Cohen's d.Results:13,770 patients in 13 European and non-European countries (international) and 564 patients from the United States (US) contributed data on the 1st postoperative day. Three of 11 PROs differed between the cohorts: ‘worst pain’ {US 7.5 (2.5) vs international 5.6 (2.8); d=0.66 [confidence interval (CI) 0.58–0.75]}; proportion ‘receiving information about treatment options’ [US 0.86 vs international 0.66; d=0.53 (CI 0.39–0.66)]; reporting adverse effects and their severity [US 0.87 vs international 0.73; d=0.52 (CI 0.38–0.66)]. Risk factors did not differ between the two cohorts. PROs and management patterns in TKR patients were similar to the mixed cohort.Conclusions:Three PROs differed between international and US patients, with higher ‘worst pain’ for US patients. Neither risk factors, nor patient mix accounted for the observed differences for ‘worst pain’.Clinical trial registration:NCT 02083835.

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