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Clinical Trial Summary

This study aims to investigate the current organization and management of postoperative pain in Denmark, especially for invasive pain treatment modalities (epidural infusions, PCA and regional blocks), in a national survey covering the activities in Danish Hospitals.

This study is an electronic questionnaire survey, that aim to describe and map the foundation for future developments within, and improvement of, postoperative pain management.

Clinical Trial Description

Postoperative pain is one of the major challenges in postoperative care and several studies continue to demonstrate that postoperative pain is generally undertreated. A key focus for postoperative pain is to identify gold standards within procedure-specific pain treatment. However, results from single randomized trials do not per se lead to better treatment, as this requires both efforts within implementation of best evidence, quality control of efficacy, including efficacy on the individual level, and education of staff and physicians.

It has been suggested, that a way forward must include changes at the organizational level. For basic postoperative pain treatment, the major responsibility for planning and execution often rests on the surgical departments. For invasive pain treatment methods, e.g. epidural analgesia with continual infusion, patient controlled epidural analgesia (PCEA), patient controlled analgesia (PCA), and regional blocks, both single and continuing, this treatment is instituted at the departments of anaesthesia, but the responsibility for follow up is rarely described.

Generally, epidural analgesia is widely recommended because of superior benefits in reducing postoperative pain, pulmonal complications and surgical stress, as compared to systemic opioid treatment. However, epidural analgesia is not without complications especially not for abdominal and thoracic surgery. The accompanying unwanted motor blockade may delay recovery and recent studies question this treatment. Likewise, up to 20 % percent of patients will not receive adequate analgesia for the first 48 hours postoperative with this method. Finally, it is possible, that adverse effects and complications from epidural treatment are currently being underestimated, due to lack of routine monitoring and missing protocols.

Besides epidural analgesia, the use of Patient controlled analgesia (PCA), Patient controlled epidural analgesia (PCEA) and regional blocks have gained ground the last decades. With these techniques it might be possible to reduce overall opioid requirements. Nevertheless, a daily evaluation of benefits and harms of such analgesic techniques may be required to justify these treatment modalities. It is suggested, that regularly monitoring of invasive analgesic methods is of great concern when it comes to optimal postoperative pain management and reduction of adverse effects.

A structured organizational approach has the potential to improve benefit and harm of postoperative pain management. A number of studies argues that in order to obtain optimal postoperative pain treatment there need to be regular monitoring, and optimization of the analgesic regimens and techniques, preferably in a clinical setting with either an Acute Pain Service (APS) or a similar setup. With the decline of the use of APS's in Denmark it seems that the organization and management around postoperative pain treatment in general, and for invasive pain treatment methods in particular, needs to be investigated. As of today, it is not known how patients with such pain treatment are monitored and taken care of after leaving the post anaesthesia care unit, and where the responsibility for this pain treatment lies ;

Study Design

Related Conditions & MeSH terms

NCT number NCT03496194
Study type Observational
Source Zealand University Hospital
Contact Laura S Kruuse, Med.Student
Phone +4520180876
Status Not yet recruiting
Start date April 15, 2018
Completion date August 15, 2018

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