Postoperative Pain Relief
Rinat Elimelech, Elon Eisenberg, Michael Doitch
Pain Relief Clinic, Rambam Medical Center, The Technion, Haifa
The traditional approach to postoperative pain relief (POPR) is still in effect in many surgical departments in Israel: morphine or meperidine given IM "on demand." In spite of the availability of modern and more effective approaches for POPR, their utilization in hospitals in Israel is lagging. The aim of this project was to study how POPR is being performed in a randomly chosen academic gynecological department, with the assumption that increased awareness will facilitate the necessary changes needed to improve POPR.
Four aspects of POPR were studied in 60 female subjects who underwent elective hysterectomy: patients' attitudes to postoperative pain and its relief ascertained prior to surgery; analgesics, prescribed and delivered; assessment of postoperative pain; and patients' satisfaction with POPR.
Results show that patients' fear of postoperative pain is the largest component of their overall fear of the surgical procedure. Although they anticipate intense pain, and expect significant POPR, most women prefer not to receive opioid analgesics. Most patients received an average of 10-20 mg of morphine during the first 2 postoperative days. They reported at least moderate to severe pain on 5 of 6 measurements during that period. Nevertheless, most patients were satisfied with their POPR. It is likely that patients expressed a high level of satisfaction primarily due to their low-level of expectations. Assuming that these results represent the POPR situation nationwide, practical steps should be undertaken for its improvement.