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Predictors of Acute Postoperative Pain After Elective Surgery

Sommer, Michael MD*; de Rijke, Janneke M. PhD*; van Kleef, Maarten MD, PhD*; Kessels, Alfons G. H. MD, MSc; Peters, Madelon L. PhD; Geurts, José W. MSc*; Patijn, Jacob MD*; Gramke, Hans-Fritz MD*; Marcus, Marco A. E. MD, PhD*

The Clinical Journal of Pain: February 2010 - Volume 26 - Issue 2 - p 87-94
doi: 10.1097/AJP.0b013e3181b43d68
Original Articles

Objectives Objectives:Despite efforts to improve acute postoperative pain management, a substantial number of patients still experience moderate to severe pain during the immediate postoperative days. The purpose of the present study was to identify predictors of moderate to severe acute postoperative pain.

Methods Methods: A total of 1490 patients undergoing heterogeneous surgical procedures recorded their pain 3 times a day on a 100-mm visual analog scale from the day before the operation until 5 days postoperation. For each postoperative day, pain intensity was classified as moderate when the mean pain score was 41 to 74mm and as “severe when the mean pain score was 75 to 100 mm. Using logistic regression analyses, we examined the predictive value of a comprehensive set of preoperative and perioperative variables for moderate to severe pain.

Results Results: The most important predictors seemed to be; preoperative pain, expected pain, surgical fear, and pain catastrophizing.

Discussion Discussion: Several predictive factors of postoperative pain were identified in this study. These factors could be taken into account in postoperative pain management.

Departments of *Anaesthesiology and Pain Treatment

Clinical Epidemiology and MTA

Clinical Psychological Science, University Hospital Maastricht, Maastricht, The Netherlands

Funding Support: The support came from the Pain Management and Research Centre subsidized by the Ministry of Health, The Netherlands.

Reprints: Michael Sommer, MD, Department of Anaesthesiology, University Hospital Maastricht, PO Box 5800, 6202 AZ Maastricht, The Netherlands (e-mail:

Received for publication April 17, 2008

revised March 4, 2009

accepted March 9, 2009

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.