Visual analog scales for assessing surgical pain

Martin McCarthy, Chih Hung Chang, A. Simon Pickard, Anita Giobbie-Hurder, Donald D. Price, Olga Jonasson, James Gibbs, Robert Joseph Fitzgibbons, Leigh Neumayer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

98 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Four visual analog scales were constructed to assess sensory and affective components of operative pain. The Surgical Pain Scales (SPS) measure pain while at rest, pain during normal activities, pain during work or exercise, and pain unpleasantness. STUDY DESIGN: Longitudinal data from 2,164 patients in a randomized trial of laparoscopic versus open hernia repair established the reliability, validity, and sensitivity to change of the SPS. Correlations and t-tests were used to determine their psychometric properties compared with the SF-36 health status instrument. RESULTS: Intraclass correlation coefficients of 0.95 for the sensory scales and 0.94 for the unpleasantness rating confirmed that the SPS produced reliable measurements. Correlations ranging from 0.44 to 0.60 between the visual analog scales and the bodily pain dimension on the SF-36 and significant differences between SPS levels for patients requiring more and less time to resume normal activities (p ≤ 0.015 to p ≤ 0.002) supported the validity of the scales. Clinical responsiveness was demonstrated by a 33.5-mm reduction (standard error = 1.4 mm) in the mean rating on a 150-mm scale measuring pain during normal activities for patients reporting postoperative improvement on the bodily pain dimension (p ≤ 0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: The Surgical Pain Scales demonstrated excellent psychometric properties in this study population. The SPS can be used to compare pain levels between groups at a single point in time or to track change for individual patients over time or after operations. Individualized pain management interventions can be tailored based on the sensory and effective ratings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-252
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American College of Surgeons
Volume201
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2005

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Visual Analog Scale
Pain
Psychometrics
Herniorrhaphy
Pain Measurement
Pain Management
Reproducibility of Results
Health Status
Exercise

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery

Cite this

McCarthy, M., Chang, C. H., Pickard, A. S., Giobbie-Hurder, A., Price, D. D., Jonasson, O., ... Neumayer, L. (2005). Visual analog scales for assessing surgical pain. Journal of the American College of Surgeons, 201(2), 245-252. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2005.03.034

Visual analog scales for assessing surgical pain. / McCarthy, Martin; Chang, Chih Hung; Pickard, A. Simon; Giobbie-Hurder, Anita; Price, Donald D.; Jonasson, Olga; Gibbs, James; Fitzgibbons, Robert Joseph; Neumayer, Leigh.

In: Journal of the American College of Surgeons, Vol. 201, No. 2, 08.2005, p. 245-252.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

McCarthy, M, Chang, CH, Pickard, AS, Giobbie-Hurder, A, Price, DD, Jonasson, O, Gibbs, J, Fitzgibbons, RJ & Neumayer, L 2005, 'Visual analog scales for assessing surgical pain', Journal of the American College of Surgeons, vol. 201, no. 2, pp. 245-252. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2005.03.034
McCarthy M, Chang CH, Pickard AS, Giobbie-Hurder A, Price DD, Jonasson O et al. Visual analog scales for assessing surgical pain. Journal of the American College of Surgeons. 2005 Aug;201(2):245-252. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2005.03.034
McCarthy, Martin ; Chang, Chih Hung ; Pickard, A. Simon ; Giobbie-Hurder, Anita ; Price, Donald D. ; Jonasson, Olga ; Gibbs, James ; Fitzgibbons, Robert Joseph ; Neumayer, Leigh. / Visual analog scales for assessing surgical pain. In: Journal of the American College of Surgeons. 2005 ; Vol. 201, No. 2. pp. 245-252.
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