Triage pain scales cannot predict analgesia provision to pediatric patients with long-bone fracture

Yi-Ming Weng, Yu-Che Chang, Yu-Jr Lin
American Journal of Emergency Medicine 2010, 28 (4): 412-7

PURPOSE: This study evaluated the effects of pain assessment at triage on analgesia provision to pediatric patients with closed long-bone fractures in the emergency department (ED).

METHODS: This was a retrospective cohort study conducted at a university-affiliated teaching hospital. Children who presented to the ED of a teaching hospital with the main diagnosis of a closed fracture of the extremities in 2007 constituted the study cohort. We reviewed the charts and collected the following variables regarding the subjects' ED visits: patient demographics, pain scale reassessment, category of fracture, associated injuries, time from triage to the first administration pain medication, and the route and type of analgesic. The data were divided on the basis of triage in accordance with pain assessment or other triage modifiers.

RESULTS: In our study, 211 (54.7%) patients enrolled received analgesia. Oral acetaminophen was the most commonly prescribed medication (131 patients, 62.1%), whereas opioids were used in only 24 (11.4%) patients. The average time taken to deliver analgesia to children arriving in our ED was 70 minutes. The logistic regression analysis indicated that enrolled patients triaged based on the pain assessed at triage was not associated with the subsequent provision of analgesia. Analgesia provision was not associated with patients with moderate or severe pain assessed at triage as compared to patients with mild pain.

CONCLUSION: The pain management of pediatric patients with closed long-bone fractures in the ED was inadequate and delayed. Moreover, the pain assessment at triage did not predict analgesia provision to these patients.

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