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Evaluation of pain management in medical transfer of trauma patients by air

  • Isabelle H. Miles (a1), Russell D. MacDonald (a2) (a3), Sean W. Moore (a2) (a4), James Ducharme (a5) and Christian Vaillancourt (a1) (a6)...

Abstract

Objectives

With regionalized trauma care, medical transport times can be prolonged, requiring paramedics to manage patient care and symptoms. Our objective was to evaluate pain management during air transport of trauma patients.

Methods

We conducted a 12-month review of electronic paramedic records from a provincial critical care transport agency. Patients were included if they were ≥18 years old and underwent air transport to a trauma centre, and excluded if they were Glasgow Coma Scale score <14, intubated, or accompanied by a physician or nurse. Demographics, injury description, and transportation parameters were recorded. Outcomes included pain assessment via 11-point numerical rating scale, patterns of analgesia administration, and analgesia-related adverse events. Results were reported as mean ± standard deviation, [range], (percentage).

Results

We included 372 patients: 47.0 years old; 262 males; 361 blunt injuries. Transport duration was 82.4 ± 46.3 minutes. In 232 (62.4%) patients who received analgesia, baseline numerical rating scale was 5.9 ± 2.5. Fentanyl was most commonly administered at 44.3 [25–60] mcg. Numerical rating scale after first analgesia dose decreased by 1.1 [-2–7]. Thereafter, 171 (73.7%) patients received 2.4 [1-18] additional doses. While 44 (23.4%) patients had no change in numerical rating scale after first analgesia dose, subsequent doses resulted in no change in numerical rating scale in over 65% of patients. There were 43 adverse events recorded, with nausea the most commonly reported (39.5%).

Conclusions

Initial and subsequent dose(s) of analgesic had minimal effect on pain as assessed via numerical rating scale, likely due in part to inadequate dosing. Future research is required to determine and address the barriers to proper analgesia.

Objectif

Compte tenu de la régionalisation des soins en traumatologie, la durée des transports pour raison médicale peut être prolongée, ce qui oblige les ambulanciers paramédicaux à traiter les symptômes et à donner des soins. L’étude visait donc à évaluer le soulagement de la douleur durant le transport aérien des polytraumatisés.

Méthode

L’étude consistait en un examen de dossiers électroniques d'ambulanciers paramédicaux, provenant d'une agence provinciale de transport de blessés en phase critique, sur une période de 12 mois. Les critères d'inclusion comprenaient un âge ≥ 18 ans et le transport aérien vers un centre de traumatologie; et les critères d'exclusion, un score < 14 sur l’échelle de Glasgow, l'intubation ou l'accompagnement d'un médecin ou d'une infirmière. La collecte d’éléments factuels se composait de données démographiques, de renseignements sur les blessures et de paramètres relatifs au transport. Les résultats étudiés comprenaient l’évaluation de la douleur sur une échelle numérique de 11 points, les modes d'administration des analgésiques et les événements indésirables liés à l'analgésie. Les résultats sont exprimés sous forme de moyenne ± l’écart type [fourchette], (pourcentage).

Résultats

Ont été retenus dans l’étude 372 patients : âge : 47,0 ans; hommes : 262; contusions : 361. La durée de transport était de 82,4 ± 46,3 minutes. Parmi les 232 patients (62,4%) qui ont reçu des analgésiques, la douleur au départ s’élevait à 5,9 ± 2,5 sur l’échelle numérique. Le médicament le plus souvent administré était le fentanyl, à raison de 44,3 μg [25–60]. Une diminution de l'intensité de la douleur de 1,1 [-2–7] sur l’échelle numérique a été enregistrée après la première dose d'analgésique; par la suite, 171 patients (73,7%) ont reçu 2,4 doses additionnelles [1–18]. De leur côté, 44 patients (23,4%) n'ont noté aucun changement sur l’échelle numérique après la première dose d'analgésique, et les doses suivantes n'ont rien changé à l’évaluation de la douleur chez plus de 65% des patients. Enfin, 43 événements indésirables ont été enregistrés, dont le plus fréquent était les nausées (39,5%).

Conclusions

Les doses initiales et subséquentes d'analgésiques ont eu peu d'effets sur le soulagement de la douleur, selon l’évaluation faite sur l’échelle numérique, probablement en raison d'un dosage inadéquat, du moins en partie. Aussi faudrait-il mener des études sur les obstacles à l'administration d'une analgésie appropriée et sur la manière de les vaincre.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Correspondence to: Dr. Isabelle H. Miles, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Ottawa, Room EM-206, Box 227, Civic Campus, The Ottawa Hospital, 1053 Carling Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario, K1Y 4E9; Email: imile052@uottawa.ca

References

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Keywords

Evaluation of pain management in medical transfer of trauma patients by air

  • Isabelle H. Miles (a1), Russell D. MacDonald (a2) (a3), Sean W. Moore (a2) (a4), James Ducharme (a5) and Christian Vaillancourt (a1) (a6)...

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