Canadian Journal of Anesthesia

, 49:1053 | Cite as

Canadian survey of postsurgical pain and pain medication experiences

  • Angela RocchiEmail author
  • Frances Chung
  • Lindy Forte
Regional Anesthesia and Pain



To assess the postoperative pain and pain medication experiences of Canadians.


Three hundred and five general population subjects from across Canada who had surgery in the previous three years were retrospectively questioned regarding pain experiences in the surgical facility and at home, pain medication efficacy and pain medication satisfaction.


While in the surgical facility, pain was experienced by 68% of patients who expected overnight admission (“inpatients”) and 49% of patients who expected same-day discharge (“outpatients”). Overall, 47% of inpatients and 15% of outpatients reported that their highest experience of pain was severe or extreme; 25% of inpatients and 9% of outpatients reported that their average pain was severe or extreme. In the two weeks post-discharge, 79% and 74% respectively of inpatients and outpatients experienced pain. Severe or extreme pain occurred at home in 25% of inpatients and 28% of outpatients; average pain was severe or extreme for 9% of inpatients and 12% of outpatients.

Complete or a lot of pain relief was experienced by 54% to 72% patients who received pain medication; higher rates of pain medication satisfaction were reported than rates of pain relief from pain medication.


Severe or extreme pain was experienced by many surgical patients. Improvements could be made to patients’ postsurgical pain experience in Canada, both in the surgical facility and subsequent to discharge.


Pain Medication Average Pain Extreme Pain Acute Pain Management American Pain Society 
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Une enquête canadienne sur la douleur postopératoire et les expériences d’analgésie



Évaluer la douleur postopératoire et les expériences d’analgésie des Canadiens.


Trois cent cinq sujets canadiens opérés au cours des trois années précédentes ont répondu à un questionnaire sur l’expérience de la douleur à l’unité de chirurgie et à la maison, sur l’efficacité de la médication analgésique et la satisfaction face au traitement. Résultats : À l’unité chirurgicale, 68 % des patients hospitalisés en attente d’une opération ont éprouvé des douleurs et 49 % des patients extemes admis en chirurgie d’un jour. Dans l’ensemble, 47 % des hospitalisés et 15 % des extemes ont signalé des douleurs sévères ou extrêmes comme seuil de douleur le plus élevé; 25 % des hospitalisés et 9% des externes ont rapporté des douleurs, en moyenne, sévères ou extrêmes. Pendant les deux semaines qui ont suivi l’opération, 79 % et 74 % des hospitalisés et des extemes ont respectivement eu des douleurs. De retour à la maison, la survenue de douleurs sévères ou extrêmes a été subie par 25 % des hospitalisés et 28 % des extemes; en moyenne, les douleurs ont été sévères ou extrêmes chez 9 % des hospitalisés et 12% des externes. Un soulagement complet ou important a été ressenti par 54% à 72% des patients qui ont reçu une analgésie; les taux de satisfaction de la médication étaient plus élevés que les taux de soulagement de la douleur par la médication.


De nombreux patients de chirurgie subissent des douleurs sévères ou extrêmes. On peut améliorer l’analgésie postchirurgicale des patients canadiens, qu’ils soient à l’unité de chirurgie ou de retour à la maison.


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Copyright information

© Canadian Anesthesiologists 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Axia ResearchHamiltonCanada
  2. 2.Toronto Western HospitalUniversity Health Network, University of TorontoToronto
  3. 3.Pharmacia Canada IncMississaugaCanada

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