Factors influencing desired and received analgesia in emergency department

Attilio Allione, Remo Melchio, Gianpiero Martini, Luca Dutto, Marco Ricca, Emanuele Bernardi, Fulvio Pomero, Valentino Menardo, Bruno Tartaglino
Internal and Emergency Medicine 2011, 6 (1): 69-78
Oligoanalgesia in Emergency Departments (ED) is known to be common. The aim of our study is to determine how often patients in pain desire and receive analgesics while in the ED. Four main outcomes have been considered: desire of analgesics, administration of analgesics in the ED, correlation between initial analgesic administration and triage priority scores, patients' satisfaction at discharge during the ED visit. Pain severity was evaluated by a 10-point numerical rating scale (0 = no pain, 10 = worst possible pain) A total of 393 patients were enrolled in the study. The majority were non-Hispanic whites with a median age of 62 years. Of the 393 patients, 202 expressed desire for analgesics, but only 146 received a treatment. Among patients refusing analgesics (48.6%), the most common reasons were to diagnose pain causes and pain tolerance. In multivariate analysis, pain score severity was significant factor that predicted wanting analgesics, whereas desiring analgesics was predictive factor to receive them. On the other hand, patients with pain localized in lower extremities and in nose or ear less probably received analgesia. In conclusion, the underuse of analgesics in the ED continues to represent a problem and our study demonstrates that half of all ED patients in pain desire analgesics and that only half of those wanting analgesics receive them. Patients that desired and received analgesic treatment represented the group with a higher degree of satisfaction.

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