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Patients' Experiences of Pain in the 48 Hours Following Total Knee Arthroplasty

Wittig-Wells, Deborah R.; Shapiro, Susan E.; Higgins, Melinda K.

doi: 10.1097/NOR.0b013e31827d969e
Original Articles: Research

BACKGROUND: Previous research indicates that both pain severity and interference caused by pain should be addressed in the recovery period following total knee arthroplasty.

PURPOSE: This research describes the range of pain severity of patients in the first 48 hours postoperation, ways in which pain interferes with activities, and the observed differences in pain experience by patients' age, level of education, race, and gender, using the Brief Pain Inventory.

ANALYSIS: Descriptive statistics and multivariate analysis were used to assess the data.

FINDINGS: Of the participants, 12% reported severe pain and 35% reported severe interference with general activities. Pain interfered most with walking, activities, and physical therapy. There were no differences by race, gender, or education. Older participants reported less pain and less interference. Participants reporting nonsurgical pain reported more interference with mood, walking, relationships with other people, and sleep.

RECOMMENDATIONS: Pain evaluation should include an assessment of pain unrelated to the surgical procedure. Additional research exploring the impact of nonpostoperative surgical pain during the postoperative period is needed.

Deborah R. Wittig-Wells, PhD, RN, NE-BC, Administrative Supervisor, Nursing, Emory University Orthopaedics and Spine Hospital, Tucker, GA.

Susan E. Shapiro, PhD, RN, FAAN, Corporate Director for Nursing Research, Emory University Hospital, Atlanta, GA.

Melinda K. Higgins, PhD, Associate Research Professor, Senior Biostatistician, Emory University, School of Nursing, Atlanta, GA.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

© 2013 National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses