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Patient-reported side effects and satisfaction of pre-hospital analgesia with low-dose esketamine: a cross-sectional study.

BMC Emergency Medicine 2023 November 5
BACKGROUND: Analgesia is a core intervention in emergency medicine. Pain is subjective, so patient-reported experience with pain and analgesia is essential for healthcare professionals. The aim of this study was to evaluate patient-reported side effects and satisfaction associated with pre-hospital analgesia with low-dose esketamine.

METHODS: This is an observational cross-sectional study conducted as part of quality assurance measures of the German Red Cross Emergency Medical Service, Reutlingen, Germany. The survey was administered to all patients who received prehospital esketamine analgesia from paramedics. Addresses were obtained from medical records and mailed 10 days after the event. Patient feedback was anonymous and could not be linked to operational documentation.

RESULTS: A total of 201 patients were contacted, and 119 responses were received via the online questionnaire and postal mail (response rate 59%). The mean age of the patients was 68±13 years, with 64.7% (n=77) being female. The main diagnosis reported was fractures of the extremities in 69.7%. Patients reported initial median pain intensity on a Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) of 10 [8-10]. Pain was unbearable for 96.3% of patients. After administration of analgesia, 95.3% were satisfied or very satisfied. Patients reported no side effects in 78.5%, minor side effects in 10.0%, significant but well tolerable side effects in 11.3%, borderline tolerable side effects in 0.2%, and no unbearable side effects. Borderline tolerable nausea was reported in 2% of patients along with dreams in 0.8%. No nightmares were reported. Further analysis showed that patients older than 80 years reported significantly more side effects (p < 0.001) and were thus less satisfied with the analgesia.

CONCLUSIONS: Both patient perception and analgesia with few side effects were important for both safety and satisfaction. In the present study, low-dose esketamine analgesia was associated with low side effects and high patient satisfaction.

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