Acute postoperative pain (APOP) may cause complications and delay healing. Analgesics alone cannot completely relieve APOP. Preoperative anxiety, optimism, and pain catastrophizing are predictors of APOP. No study author has examined the mediating effect of pain catastrophizing on APOP in patients undergoing cardiac surgery.
The aims of this study were to investigate the relationship between preoperative anxiety, optimism, pain catastrophizing, confounding factors (age, sex, type of surgery, and preoperative pain), and APOP and to examine the mediating effect of pain catastrophizing.
The authors of this cross-sectional study used a convenience sampling method and included 100 adults undergoing cardiac surgery in a southern Taiwanese medical center. The patients were asked to complete the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory-State subscale, Pain Catastrophizing Scale, and Life Orientation Test-Revised questionnaires before surgery. Postoperatively, the patients were asked to report their pain intensity on a numerical rating scale. Results were analyzed using SPSS version 22.
Patients had a mild level of anxiety, a moderate level of optimism, and pain catastrophizing before surgery, as well as a moderate level of APOP. Men reported lower levels of APOP than women (z = −2.0, P < .05). APOP was significantly associated with preoperative anxiety (r = 0.48, P < .01), optimism (r = −0.45, P < .01), and pain catastrophizing (r = 0.65, P < .01). Only pain catastrophizing was a significant predictor of APOP (β = 0.60, P < .001) and fully mediated the relationship between anxiety and APOP (z = 4.92, P < .001). The final model explained 42% of the variance in APOP.
Pain catastrophizing should be assessed before surgery. Reducing pain catastrophizing would decrease APOP and improve the quality of pain management.