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Pain relief in major trauma patients: an Israeli perspective


The pain of major trauma patients remains often unrelieved while in the Emergency Department. Our objective was to examine pain management in several trauma units, and to evaluate the impact of implementation of a trauma pain management protocol.


Current status was evaluated from questionnaires filled by trauma unit personnel of nine medical centers. In one, a pain management protocol was introduced. Staff and patients evaluated pain management before and after the protocol was instituted.


About 80% of staff respondents from various centers were not aware of guidelines for pain management in trauma. The belief that pain assists diagnosis was the main reason (78.6%) for withholding analgesia. Large variability existed on what contraindicates analgesia, with the majority withholding analgesia in abdominal and multiple injuries. When administered, analgesia was delayed, and most commonly intramuscular Meperidine was given. After the protocol's implementation, the personnel's awareness of analgesia increased, and consequently it was administered earlier and to more patients, mostly as intravenous morphine.

Patients appreciated the timely analgesia (38% after vs 14% before, P = 0.01), with fewer receiving none. Analgesia was considered beneficial by more patients (70% after vs 23% before, P < 0.001). This was reflected in increases in overall satisfaction with pain relief during the entire hospitalization.


The importance of pain management protocols in major trauma was demonstrated by the response of personnel and patients. The attitudes of the personnel regarding pain and its relief have changed and this resulted in improved patient perception and cooperation. This suggests that similar protocols should be tested and introduced throughout the country.

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Zohar, Z., Eitan, A., Stolero, J. et al. Pain relief in major trauma patients: an Israeli perspective. Crit Care 6 (Suppl 1), P71 (2002).

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