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Chronic Pain Exists Even One Year Post Injury

  • Published: February 4, 2009

Arch Surg. 2008 Mar;143(3):282-7;
Prevalence of pain in patients 1 year after major trauma.Rivara FP,
Mackenzie EJ, Jurkovich GJ, Nathens AB, Wang J, Scharfstein DO.
Departments of Pediatrics and Epidemiology, Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, University of Washington School of Medicine, Box 359960, 325 Ninth Ave, Seattle, WA 98104, USA. fpr@u.washington.edu

OBJECTIVES: To describe the prevalence of pain in a large cohort of trauma patients 1 year after injury and to examine personal, injury, and treatment factors that predict the presence of chronic pain in these patients.

SETTING: Sixty-nine hospitals in 14 states in the United States.

PATIENTS: There were 3047 patients (10 371 weighted) aged 18 to 84 years who were admitted to the hospital because of acute trauma and survived to 12 months after injury.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Pain 12 months after injury measured with the Chronic Pain Grade Scale. RESULTS: At 12 months after injury, 62.7% of patients reported injury-related pain. Most patients had pain in more than 1 body region, and the mean (SD) severity of pain in the last month was 5.5 (4.8) on a 10-point scale. The reported presence of pain varied with age and was more common in women and those who had untreated depression before injury. Pain at 3 months was predictive of both the presence and higher severity of pain at 12 months. Lower pain severity was reported by patients with a college education and those with no previous functional limitations.

CONCLUSIONS: Most trauma patients have moderately severe pain from their injuries 1 year later. Earlier and more intensive interventions to treat pain in trauma patients may be needed.

Claudeth Henry

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