Effective postoperative pain control using continuous peripheral nerve block reduced average length of stay by nearly a day, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine physicians reported during the 81st Clinical and Scientific Congress of the International Anesthesia Research Society on March 26, 2007.
"For many people, the prospect of having pain is more stressful than the surgery itself," said Jacques E. Chelly, MD, PhD, professor and vice chairman of the department of anesthesiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "If they know that specialists in acute pain medicine can help to minimize the pain associated with surgery, these patients are less stressed and more willing to have the surgery they need."
Dr. Chelly and his colleagues analyzed the hospitalization experiences of 1,527 patients, including 495 undergoing surgery between July 1, 2001, and Aug. 30, 2002, and 1,032 who underwent surgery following the institution of a formalized postoperative pain medicine program between July 1, 2004, and Aug. 30, 2005. The study included patients who underwent total hip or total knee replacement, chest or prostate surgery.
"Prior to the implementation of our postoperative pain management program, the average length of hospital stay was about three to five days," said Dr. Chelly. "The use of the acute interventional postoperative pain service allowed patients to recover faster, and they were discharged from the hospital an average of 0.675 days per patient earlier, for a total of 597.7 days of hospitalization saved a year."