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Papers: 2 Mar 2024 - 7 Mar 2024

2024 Mar 07

Sci Rep




Prevalence of prehospital pain and pain assessment difference between patients and paramedics: a prospective cross-sectional observational study.


Häske D, Dorau W, Eppler F, Heinemann N, Metzger F, Schempf B


Adequate analgesia is one of the most important interventions in emergency medicine. However, studies suggest that many patients are undertreated for pain. There can be many reasons why patients assess their pain differently to the paramedics. This study aimed to assess the differences in pain ratings between patients and paramedics and factors influencing them in prehospital emergencies. This prospective cross-sectional observational study included patients treated and transported by paramedics or paramedics and emergency physicians of the German Red Cross in Reutlingen, Germany. This study included 6,365 patients. The prevalence of pain was 49.7%. Among patients with a self-reported numerical rating scale (NRS) > 0, the mean patient pain rating was NRS 4.2 ± 2.7, while the mean paramedic pain rating was NRS 3.6 ± 2.4 (p < 0.001). Approximately 11.8% (n = 751) of patients reported subjectively unbearable pain. Patients reported a mean NRS of 7.7 ± 1.8 for unbearable pain, but a mean NRS of 3.3 ± 2.0 for bearable pain (p < 0.001). The difference in pain ratings between patients and paramedics increased with pain severity. Univariate analysis showed that there were no gender differences, but the difference in pain rating was influenced by patient age (p < 0.001) and paramedic age (p = 0.042). The differences in pain ratings were particularly pronounced for abdominal diseases (p < 0.001) and trauma (p < 0.001). There is a difference in pain ratings between patients and paramedics, which increases with pain severity and appears to be associated with the patient’s age and the paramedic’s age. To determine the desire and need for analgesics, the question about unbearable pain is a good addition to the NRS.