A novel rat model of extremity trauma for prehospital pain management research

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Pain management is important in prehospital care of patients with extremity trauma (ET). The goal of this study was to establish a rat model of ET for prehospital pain research and validate it using pain behaviors and analgesics.

METHODS

Rats were anesthetized using isoflurane, and ET was induced in one hindlimb via clamping retrofemoral tissues for 30 seconds, followed by closed fibula fracture. Rats regained consciousness after ET. Pain responses in the injured hindlimb to thermal hyperalgesia (paw withdrawal latency [PWL]), mechanical allodynia (paw withdrawal pressure [PWP]), and weight bearing (WB) were determined before and 90 minutes after ET. Morphine (2 mg/kg), fentanyl (10 μg/kg), sufentanil (1 μg/kg), ketamine (5 mg/kg), or vehicle (saline) were then administered via intravenous (i.v.) injection, followed by PWL, PWP, and WB assessments at 10 minutes, 40 minutes, 80 minutes, and 120 minutes after analgesia.

RESULTS

After ET, PWL, PWP, and WB were significantly decreased by 61 ± 4%, 64 ± 8%, and 65 ± 4%, respectively, compared with pre-ET values. These pain behaviors were maintained for 3 hours to 4 hours. Compared with the saline group, opioid analgesics significantly increased PWL for at least 80 minutes, with sufentanil exhibiting the highest analgesic effect. An increase in PWL was only observed at 10 minutes after ketamine. The PWP was transiently increased with opioid analgesics for 10 minutes to 40 minutes, but was not changed with ketamine. Weight bearing was improved with opioid analgesics for at least 2 hours, but only for up to 80 minutes with ketamine.

CONCLUSION

Our ET model includes long bone fracture and soft tissue injury, but no fixation surgery, mimicking prehospital ET. Our model produces acute, steady, and reproducible trauma-related pain behaviors, and is clinically relevant regarding the pain behaviors and established responses to common analgesics. This model of acute pain due to ET is ideal for prehospital pain management research.

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