Volume 2016, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1999-7086
  • E-ISSN: 1999-7094


Background/Introduction: Oligoanalgesia is a common phenomenon in the Emergency Department (ED) with children being especially at risk. However, the extent to which pediatric patients are being undertreated for acute pain in relation to their adult counterparts is not well understood, especially in general (i.e., mixed adult and pediatric) EDs. This study was designed to compare the pain medication received by adult and pediatric patients with appendicitis presenting to a general ED. Methods: A retrospective chart review of 165 patients, 92 adult (mean age: 35.7 ± 15.7 years) and 73 pediatric (mean age: 11.0 ± 3.0 years) with a discharge diagnosis of “appendicitis” were included in this study. Demographic information as well as data regarding type, timing, and received amount of pain medication were collected. Adult and pediatric data were then compared using independent t-test or chi-square analysis. Effect sizes were also calculated. Results: Pediatric patients were significantly more likely than adult patients to not receive any analgesia during their ED stay (58.9% vs 20.7%, p>0.001, Cramer's V = 0.39). They were also significantly less likely to receive opioid analgesics, compared to adults (27.4% vs. 71.7%, p>0.001, Cramer's V = 0.44). Finally, mean pain scores recorded at presentation were significantly lower for children vs. adults (6.5 vs 7.2 out of 10, p = 0.015, r = 0.20). Conclusion: In this sample, pediatric patients with appendicitis presenting to a general emergency department received less opioid pain medication, and less pain medication in general, than their adult counterparts.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): analgesia , opioid , pain and pediatrics
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