Emergency Department Pain Management in Children With Appendicitis in a Biethnic Population

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Our goal was to examine factors associated with the administration of emergency department analgesia (any analgesia, opioid analgesia) in patients with acute appendicitis in a tertiary children’s hospital in Israel, and to examine ethnic differences.


A retrospective cohort study of children evaluated in the emergency department, who had International Classification Of Disease—Ninth Revision (ICD-9) diagnosis of acute appendicitis. Regression analysis was used to test the effect of multiple variables on the provision of analgesia. Medications were administered according to a nurse-driven pain protocol. Multivariate regression was performed to estimate the strength of association between ethnicity and provision of analgesia. The effect of patient-nurse ethnicity concordance was assessed.


During the 6-year study period, there were 715 children with acute appendicitis, 457 Jews and 258 Arabs. Overall, 289 (40.4%) received some form of analgesia, and 139 (19.4%) received opioid analgesia. Univariate analysis revealed that higher pain score (P<0.001) and higher triage acuity (P<0.001) were associated with administration of any type of analgesia and of opioid analgesia. When adjusted for age, weight, sex, triage category, pain score, and 24-hour time of arrival, Jewish and Arab patients had similar likelihood of receiving analgesia of any type 41.8% (95% confidence interval [CI], 40.3%-43.3%) versus 40.7% (95% CI, 38.7%-42.8%), and receiving opioid analgesia 26.1% (95% CI, 24.4%-27.8%) versus 25.3% (95% CI, 22.9%-27.7%). Similar proportions of Jewish and Arab patients received analgesia from Jewish and Arab nurses.


Low rates of analgesia and opioid administration were found with no ethnic differences.

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