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Papers of the Week

2020 Sep 07

Reg Anesth Pain Med

Is the minimal clinically important difference (MCID) in acute pain a good measure of analgesic efficacy in regional anesthesia?


In the field of acute pain medicine research, we believe there is an unmet need to incorporate patient related outcome measures that move beyond reporting pain scores and opioid consumption. The term "minimal clinically important difference" (MCID) defines the clinical benefit of an intervention as perceived by the patient, as opposed to a mathematically determined statistically significant difference that may not necessarily be clinically significant. The present article reviews the concept of MCID in acute postoperative pain research, addresses potential pitfalls in MCID determination and questions the clinical validity of extrapolating MCID determined from chronic pain and non-surgical pain studies to the acute postoperative pain setting. We further suggest the concepts of minimal clinically important improvement, substantial clinical benefit and patient acceptable symptom state should also represent aspirational outcomes for future research in acute postoperative pain management.