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Comparison of skin conductance measurements and subjective pain scores in children with minor injuries

Authors


Correspondence

Eugen-Matthias Strehle, Consultant Paediatrician and Geneticist, North Tyneside General Hospital, Rake Lane, North Shields NE29 8NH, UK.

Tel: +44191 2031200 |

Fax: +0044191 2932520 |

Email: strehle@doctors.org.uk

Abstract

Aim

Objective measures of perceived pain may aid clinicians in decision-making regarding analgesia. This study aimed to assess the effectiveness of an algesimeter to assess the pain response of children to minor injury when compared with self-report.

Methods

A commercially available skin conductance algesimeter was used to record pain in children presenting with a minor injury to a district general hospital. The recordings were compared with self-reported pain scores using the Wong-Baker FACES® Pain Rating Scale.

Results

Sixty-seven children below 16 years of age (36 females, 53.7%, mean age 11.9 years, standard deviation 3.1 years) were assessed. There was a significant correlation between self-reported pain and number of fluctuations in skin conductance per second for girls (r = 0.325, p = 0.027), but not for boys (r = 0.160, p = 0.194). There was no significant association between self-reported pain and number of fluctuation in skin conductance per second and patient age.

Conclusion

There was a significant correlation between self-reported pain and the number of fluctuations in skin conductance in girls, but not boys. There may be a number of reasons for this gender variation, including difficulty in rating pain and lack of sensitivity in the pain rating scale.

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