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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 56

of 'Palliative care: Issues in the intensive care unit in adults'

Appropriately timed analgesics control pain due to chest tube removal.
Puntillo K, Ley SJ
Am J Crit Care. 2004 Jul;13(4):292-301; discussion 302; quiz 303-4.
BACKGROUND: Pain during chest tube removal can be moderately to severely intense and distressful to patients. Little evidence-based research has guided clinicians in attempts to alleviate such pain.
OBJECTIVE: To test pharmacological and nonpharmacological interventions to alleviate pain during chest tube removal in cardiac surgery patients.
METHODS: Four interventions were tested in 74 patients in a randomized, double-blind study: (1) 4 mg intravenous morphine and procedural information; (2) 30 mg intravenous ketorolac and procedural information; (3) 4 mg intravenous morphine plus procedural and sensory information; and (4) 30 mg intravenous ketorolac plus procedural and sensory information. Analgesics were administered to correspond to peak effect, and scripted information was provided. Pain intensity and pain distress were measured before analgesic administration, immediately after chest tube removal, and 20 minutes later Pain quality was measured immediately after chest tube removal. Level of sedation was measured before and 20 minutes after chest tube removal. Repeated-measures analyses of variance were used to test differences among groups over time.
RESULTS: Pain intensity, pain distress, and sedation levels did not differ significantly among groups. However, procedural pain intensity (mean 3.26, SD 3.00) and pain distress (mean 2.98, SD 3.18) scores for all were low. Patients remained alert, regardless of which analgesic was administered.
CONCLUSIONS: If used correctly, either an opioid (morphine) or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (ketorolac) can substantially reduce pain during chest tube removal without causing adverse sedative effects. Thus, clinicians may choose among several safe and effective analgesic interventions during chest tube removal.
School of Nursing, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, Calif, USA.