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Papers: 3 Feb 2024 - 9 Feb 2024

2024 Jan 31



Pain memory in children: a systematic review and meta-analysis with a meta-regression.


Cuenca-Martínez F, Herranz-Gómez A, Varangot-Reille C, Bajcar EA, Adamczyk WM, Suso-Martí L, Bąbel P


The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to analyze the accuracy of memory of pain and the variables that may influence it in children with acute, experimental, and chronic pain. We conducted a search in electronic databases from inception to February 11, 2022. Twelve observational studies and 3 randomized controlled studies were included in the study. The main outcome measure was the accuracy of the memory of the pain intensity (experienced/recalled). To compare the outcomes reported by the studies, we calculated the standardized mean difference (SMD) over time for the continuous variables. The overall meta-analysis showed a small effect size in favor of an overestimation of experienced pain intensity (SMD = 0.28). Subanalyzing per pain context, there was a small effect size in favor of overestimation in the clinical context (SMD = 0.33), but there was no evidence of any change in the accuracy of memory of pain in the experimental context (SMD = 0.07). The mean age of the participants and the proportion of girls significantly predicted the accuracy of the memory of pain. The period since the experienced pain measurement, the intensity of expected and recalled fear, trait anxiety, and anxiety sensitivity did not significantly predict the accuracy of the memory of pain. Children showed an overestimation in pain memory between the experienced and recalled intensity of acute pain, especially in a clinical context. Furthermore, only gender and age were predictors of the accuracy of pain memory. These results highlight the relevance of pain memory to medical practice and future research.