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  1. Smith-Miller, Cheryl A.
  2. Harlos, Linda
  3. Roszell, Sheila Serr
  4. Bechtel, Gregory A.


BACKGROUND: Increased emphasis on adequate pain control as a patient expectation and a change in professional practice standards has prompted research on new mechanisms of pain medication delivery in an effort to improve outcomes and efficacy.


PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to compare pain scores of patients receiving extended release epidural morphine (EREM) with those receiving traditional pain control regimens.


DESIGN/METHODS: Retrospective chart reviews were performed on all patients who had had first-time, elective, nontraumatic, unilateral hip or knee replacement from January to June 2006. All patients received either intraoperative EREM or a traditional pain control regimen. Medication regimens were coded and noted at patients' arrival on the unit (baseline), at 16 hr, and at 48 hr postoperatively.


SAMPLE: The sample consisted of surgical patients (N = 65) having first-time, nontraumatic hip/knee surgery. Of the sample, 39% (n = 25) were men and 61% (n = 40) were women, with a mean age of 65.25 years (SD = 15.28). Knee replacement surgery was the most frequent surgery at 57% (n = 36), with women representing 75% (n = 28) of the total knee surgical procedures. Hip surgical procedures were equally divided between men (n =11) and women (n = 11).


RESULTS: Postoperative pain was assessed within 1 hr of admission to the unit for 98.5% (n = 64) of patients and reassessed at 15-17 hr for 90.8% (n = 59) of the sample, suggesting that the assessment and documentation of patient pain level were a high priority for the nurses. Pain scores were not correlated with age during the 3 time points in the study. Women reported a significantly higher level of pain upon admission to the unit than men, t(62) = 2.697, p <= .009027.


CONCLUSIONS: Pain scores for both groups were relatively low with an average score of 3.1 at the time of postoperative admission decreasing to an average of 2.7 at 16 and 24 hours. There were no significant differences in patients reported pain levels between the EREM and traditional control regimens.