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In this prospective cohort study Rasmussen and colleagues1 reported their findings of 3,702 patients who underwent a variety of surgeries and found that 20% of patients reported moderate or severe pain immediately following surgery until 15 minutes after post-anesthesia care unit arrival. The study included 31 public hospitals in Denmark, Greenland, and the Faroe Islands over a 5-day period. Risk factors for higher pain levels included female sex, younger age, preoperative pain, daily opioid use, and major surgical procedures. The authors found postoperative nausea and vomiting occurred in only 5% of cases with female sex again being identified as a risk factor, consistent with prior studies. Finally, a greater proportion of patients who were sedated in the operating room had pain in the post-anesthesia care unit versus nonsedated patients (11 versus 8%; p=0.008). This study illustrates that early control of postoperative pain remains a challenge.
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We would like to acknowledge Jim Snively, artist, of Pittsburgh, PA, for creation of this infographic.
Twitter @ESchwenkMD, @dr_rajgupta
Contributors ESS created the summary and designed the concept for the infographic. RKG edited and approved the final manuscript.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.