Children who still have moderate to severe post-operative pain one month after a surgical procedure are at risk for deterioration of their health-related quality of life, according to research reported in The Journal of Pain, the peer-reviewed publication of the American Pain Society, www.americanpainsociety.org.
In the United States, some 4 million surgical procedures are performed on children every year. Unfortunately, severe post-surgical pain is common and can govern the stress response after surgery, which can result in delayed recovery with significant post-surgical pain that may progress to chronic pain.
Researchers at Seattle Children's Hospital collected data from the parents of 915 children admitted to the hospital for surgery from January 2012 to August 2013. They measured health related quality of life (HRQOL) and pain in a large heterogeneous pediatric inpatient population from a pre-surgery baseline to one-month follow-up at home. They also examined predictors of clinically significant changes in HRQOL in the children a month following surgery.
This is the first study to examine pain and HRQOL outcomes in a broad population of children undergoing a wide range of inpatient surgeries.
Study results showed that 23 percent of the children had a clinically significant deterioration in HRQOL from baseline to one month after surgery. Factors associated with HRQOL deterioration included higher child age and moderate to severe pain at one-month follow-up.
"Our findings demonstrate that pain affected both physical and psychosocial health," said Jennifer A. Rabbitts, lead author of the study. "Unfortunately, over the past several
decades, children's rates of pain in the early post-operative period after inpatient surgery have not changed. Measurement of broad health outcomes is essential when assessing pediatric surgical populations and should be considered in future research."
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