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Keywords:

  • pain characteristic;
  • postthoracotomy pain;
  • surgery;
  • thoracotomy

Kol E, Erdogan A, Karslı B. International Journal of Nursing Practice 2012; 18: 84–90

Nature and intensity of the pain following thoracotomy

The aim of this study is to clearly define and describe the pain characteristics that disturb the patients having thoracotomy in postoperative period. It can be possible to manage to get pains under control according to pain characteristics. The study included 70 patients who underwent thoracotomy (lobectomy or segmentectomy and mean duration of surgery was 90 min) and were hospitalized in the intensive care unit of the Thoracic Surgery Department of Akdeniz University Hospital between November 2007 and November 2008. In this study, 68.6% of the patients were male and mean age was 49.90. The study was achieved. Consider that the patients have pain in the first 24 h postoperatively and the effect of sedation, the Behavioural Pain Scale, which is filled out by a researcher, and the Verbal Category Scale, which allows the patient to define his/her pain with short responses, were used for pain assessment. Pain was assessed at the postoperative 4th, 8th, 16th, 24th and 48th hours, following extubation. The patients mostly reported throbbing (65.7%), stabbing (65.7%) and stinging (62.9%) pain in the incision site, while 40% of them (n = 28) reported a ‘sharp’, ‘exhausting’ and ‘splitting’ pain. The investigation of the factors increasing pain during the postoperative period revealed that most of the patients (85.7%) reported that their pain increased due to movement in bed and/or walking, while 74.3%, 68.6%, 54.3% and 37.1% of them stated that their pain increased due to breathing, coughing, chest tube movement and noisy environment, respectively. Each pain characteristics, throbbing, stabbing and stinging, can be specifically relief using one or more methods such as touching on the incision site, little press on the thoracotomy region, talking to the patient about pain, etc. We determined that the patients experienced a sharp, stabbing and unbearable pain in the first 48 postoperative hours. Therefore, our study suggests that some interventions such as pressure exertion and touching to the painful area were stated to provide pain relief to the patients.