Approximately one-third of patients experience nausea and vomiting after discharge from ambulatory surgery settings, yet there have been no clear and definitive instruments used to measure it. A critical review and analysis of the measurement of postdischarge nausea and vomiting was conducted. Twenty-eight articles met the inclusion criteria. Four studies (14.3%) used instruments with documented reliability and validity. Telephone calls were used in 21 (76%) studies to interview patients, and seven studies (25%) used a mail-in investigator-developed diary or questionnaire. Most studies (22) obtained data at 48 hours; 13 of those obtained data exclusively at 24 hours. Definitions, measurement, and clinical outcomes were defined differently in each study.
Of the instruments examined, the Ambulatory Surgery Inventory of Nausea, Vomiting, and Retching and Functional Living Index-Emesis provide the possibility for outcome standardization. Although both instruments possess strengths, more study is needed to advance the measurement of nausea and vomiting in the postdischarge ambulatory surgery patient.