Reported pain after day surgery: a critical literature review
Article first published online: 18 MAR 2004
Journal of Advanced Nursing
Volume 46, Issue 1, pages 53–65, April 2004
How to Cite
Coll, A. M., Ameen, J. R.M. and Moseley, L. G. (2004), Reported pain after day surgery: a critical literature review. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 46: 53–65. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2003.02965.x
- Issue published online: 18 MAR 2004
- Article first published online: 18 MAR 2004
- Submitted for publication 24 February 2003 Accepted for publication 14 November 2003
- postoperative pain;
- operation types;
- day surgery;
- pain assessment
Background. Despite technological advancements in anaesthesia and analgesia, reported pain levels after day surgery remains high. Whilst it is unrealistic to expect no pain, the level that constitutes ‘acceptable’ pain remains unclear because of inconsistencies in reporting. These inconsistencies have resulted from different interpretations of what pain is and the use of different measurement tools.
Aim. The aim of this paper is to report a study investigating any disparity in reported levels of pain following day surgery, within different specialities and in relation to specific operative procedures.
Method. Nursing and health care papers published since 1983 were sought using the keywords: postoperative pain, postoperative complications, pain after day surgery, day surgery, ambulatory surgery, nursing, operation types, operative procedures, surgical procedures, descriptors of pain, pain intensity, verbal descriptor scale, numerical rating scale, visual analogue scale, validity, reliability, design, sample size, data collection methods and their various combinations. Databases searched were Medline, CINAHL, Nursing Collection, Embase, Healthstar, BMJ and several on-line Internet journals, specifically Ambulatory Surgery. The search was restricted to publications in the English language.
Findings. Twenty-four papers were identified. Inconsistencies in the reported intensity of pain are highlighted, in relation to different operative procedures and specialities. Data in the papers are based on different descriptors, measurement tools and data collection methods. In many cases, sample size, and validity and reliability can also be questioned.
Conclusions. There is a disparity in reported levels of pain after day surgery. It is important that a unified day surgery pain measurement strategy is established, so that patients can be informed about the intensity of pain that they are likely to experience following specific procedures.