Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Waking up in pain: an infographic
  1. Eric S Schwenk1 and
  2. Rajnish K Gupta2
  1. 1 Anesthesiology, Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  2. 2 Anesthesiology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, USA
  1. Correspondence to Eric S Schwenk, Anesthesiology, Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; prepdrum{at}

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


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.

Ethics statements

Patient consent for publication


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.

Linked Articles

  • Original research
    Anders Mølgaard Rasmussen Mette Helene Toft Hussein Nasser Awada Jesper Dirks Birgitte Brandsborg Line Kirkegaard Rasmussen Ellen Kirkegaard Dorthe Hasfeldt-Hansen Thomas Egemose Larsen Georgios Charalampidis Emilie Louise Schjøtt Mørk Chirstine Linaa Rosager Idress Ahmad Salam Bodil Steen Rasmussen Marlene Jørgensen Martin Skjønnemand Caterina Amanti Lund Save Schroder Johan Kløvgaard Sørensen Christoffer Sølling Kristian Kraft Hansen Christina Kirkegaard Rasmussen Nick Phaff Steen Anne Staal Nielsen Anja Geisler Kasper Storm Køppen Maria Bolther Pælestik Thorbjørn Grøfte Christian Sylvest Meyhoff Charlotte Loumann Kroh Amalie Prien Christensen Aleksander Fjeld Haugstvedt Maria Aagaard Hansen Christian Viggo Nielsen Bitten Dybdal Lars Falcon Daniel Hägi-Pedersen Kristian Jauho Henrik Wolsted Christian Alves Kohler Pedersen Trine Nyboe Sommer Laurits Schou Kromberg Danja Lykke Kristensen Camilla Kara Svensson Hans Fjeldsøe Nielsen Martin Kryspin Sørensen Stig Jacobsen Martin Sundskard Nicole Brahe Karina Jakobsen Mette Skov Jensen Lillian Odder Hansjörg Selter Tróndur Høgnason Mohr Elin H Jensen Pernille Pia Jensen Christine Skjold Eske Kvanner Aasvang