Acute Pain Service: A 10-Year Experience

Francesco Deni, Massimiliano Greco, Stefano Turi, Renato Meani, Laura Comotti, Valeria Perotti, Alessandra Mello, Eleonora Colnaghi, Nicola Pasculli, Pasquale Nardelli, Giovanni Landoni, Luigi Beretta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Pain management after surgery is crucial to decrease perioperative morbidity and mortality. Acute pain services (APS) are multidisciplinary teams that represent a modern strategy to address pain inside hospitals. The APS defines and applies pain treatment protocols specific for each surgery. To evaluate the performance of the APS at our institute, we performed a large retrospective cohort study focusing on complications of epidural analgesia and IV opiates. Methods: Data from the 10 years of activity of the APS were collected. Pain was assessed using the VAS at rest (VASr) and during movement (VASm) at each daily visit; the presence of side effects and complications was also assessed. Results: A total of 17,913 adult patients were followed by APS during the study period. Epidural analgesia was used in 7,776 cases (43%), while 9,239 (52%) patients used IV patient-controlled analgesia (PCA). A combination of the 2 was used in 87 patients (0.5%). A total of 456 perineural catheters (2.6%) were placed, while 442 patients(2.5%) used other analgesic techniques. We recorded 163 dural punctures during catheter placement, with no epidural hematoma, epidural abscess, or meningitis, and no permanent modification in sensitive or motor functions. Conclusions: In our large case series, APS was confirmed safe and effective in treating postoperative pain, using both epidural analgesia and IV PCA with morphine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)586-593
Number of pages8
JournalPain Practice
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019


  • acute pain service
  • epidural
  • postoperative pain
  • postoperative period

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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