Home E-Weekly February 24, 2015

Are Your Patients at Risk for Post-op Chronic Pain?

Published: February 23, 2015

A new pre-op planning tool may help doctors predict if patients will experience chronic pain after surgery, according to a study published in the journal Anesthesiology.

Researchers followed the cases of 3,000 patients who underwent hernia repair, hysterectomy or thoracotomy to evaluate their post-op pain at 4, 12 and 24 months. Finding that about 18% of the patients reported chronic pain after 4 months, and 5.2% after 24 months, they determined 6 patient predictors that may help to identify patients who are at a higher risk for post-op chronic pain.

The predictors, which include surgery type, age, physical and mental health status, pre-op pain at the surgical site and in other areas, led to the development of a planning tool that the researchers hope physicians will be able to use to prevent pain among high-risk patients.

"We sought a tool that would reliably predict a patient's risk preoperatively, at the time surgery is being planned," says Antonio Montes Perez, MD, PhD, the study's lead author. "We developed a risk scoring system that can be used before surgery, when care planning and preventive measures are critically important."

Kendal Gapinski

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