Identification of pain-related psychological risk factors for the development and maintenance of pediatric chronic postsurgical pain
M Gabrielle Pagé,1 Jennifer Stinson,2,3 Fiona Campbell,2,4 Lisa Isaac,2,4 Joel Katz1,4,5
1Department of Psychology, York University, 2Department of Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, Hospital for Sick Children, 3Lawrence S Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, 4Department of Anesthesia, University of Toronto, 5Department of Psychology, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON, Canada
Background: The goals of this study were to examine the trajectory of pediatric chronic postsurgical pain (CPSP) over the first year after surgery and to identify acute postsurgical predictors of CPSP.
Methods: Eighty-three children aged 8–18 years (mean 13.8, standard deviation 2.4) who underwent major orthopedic or general surgery completed pain and pain-related psychological measures at 48–72 hours, 2 weeks (pain anxiety and pain measures only), and 6 and 12 months after surgery.
Results: Results showed that 1 year after surgery, 22% of children developed moderate to severe CPSP with minimal functional disability. Children who reported a Numeric Rating Scale pain-intensity score ≥ 3 out of 10 two weeks after discharge were more than three times as likely to develop moderate/severe CPSP at 6 months and more than twice as likely to develop moderate/severe CPSP at 12 months than those who reported a Numeric Rating Scale pain score < 3 (6-month relative risk 3.3, 95% confidence interval 1.2–9.0 and 12-month relative risk 2.5, 95% confidence interval 0.9–7.5). Pain unpleasantness predicted the transition from acute to moderate/severe CPSP, whereas anxiety sensitivity predicted the maintenance of moderate/severe CPSP from 6 to 12 months after surgery.
Conclusions: This study highlights the prevalence of pediatric CPSP and the role played by psychological variables in its development/maintenance. Risk factors that are associated with the development of CPSP are different from those that maintain it.
Keywords: chronic postsurgical pain, children, adolescents, anxiety sensitivity
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