Postoperative pain: frequency and management characterization

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Abstract

Introduction:

Acute postoperative pain is a usual symptom and a surgical challenge.

Objective:

To determine the frequency of pain in the postoperative period of patients undergoing elective surgery and to characterize pain management at a second-level public hospital.

Material and methods:

A cross-section study of 175 postop patients was conducted, analyzing variables such as level of pain 24 hours after surgery according to the visual analog scale, type of surgery, use of analgesics, and anesthetic technique.

Results:

The findings indicate that the frequency of moderate, severe, and excruciating pain is 66.3%. In all cases, the analgesia treatment was prescribed by the treating service, and 2 to 3 nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs were used in 86.4% of the cases, with a minimal use of opioids in 13% of the patients. The anesthetic techniques used included balanced general anesthesia, neuro-axial block, and a mixed technique; the latter improved pain control.

Conclusion:

The frequency of postoperative pain is similar to the level reported in other trials (30%–70%), pointing to the need to review our current management, with more extensive participation and training of the staff involved in pain control.

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