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scientific articles

Pain scores: are they used in sickle cell pain?

key information

source: Pediatric Emergency Care

year: 2011

authors: Zempsky W.T, Corsi J.M, McKay K


We sought to evaluate the relationship between pain scores and time to analgesic administration in 2 patient groups: those with sickle cell disease (SCD) and those with long-bone fractures (LBFs).

Patients between the ages of 3 and 21 years who presented to a pediatric emergency department (ED) with a vaso-occlusive episode secondary to SCD or an isolated LBF during 2005 were included. A retrospective chart review was conducted for each visit. Data collected included demographics, visual analog scale (VAS) pain scores, and time analgesic intervention. In 2005, all patients with SCD received analgesic management according to protocol.

Seventy-seven patients with SCD had 152 visits to the ED for pain, whereas 219 patients had 221 visits for isolated LBF. In the long-bone-fracture group, for every 1-point increase in the VAS score, time to analgesic administration decreased by 5.6 minutes (P = 0.003), whereas in the SCD group, there was no relationship between VAS score and time to analgesic administration (P = 0.69).

Our data suggest that pain scores are not used in the initial decision-making process in those patients with SCD presenting to the ED; however, they are utilized for patients presenting with another painful condition.

organization: Pain Relief Program, Connecticut Children's Medical Center, Hartford, CT

DOI: 10.1097/PEC.0b013e318203ca03

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