METHODS: We performed a single-center, prospective, survey-based study of 300 patients who had undergone elective video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery. Patients were enrolled and completed the survey on postoperative day 1 or 2. The primary outcome variable was patient-reported satisfaction with acute postoperative pain treatment measured on a 1–4 scale. The relationship between the items on the survey and patient satisfaction was analyzed to determine the factors significantly associated with satisfaction.
RESULTS: Fifty-one percent of the patients had the highest satisfaction level with pain treatment, and 4% of the patients had the lowest satisfaction level. The mean reported acceptable pain level was 3.8 ± 1.9 (numeric rating scale [NRS], 0–10). The average pain intensity score at the time of the survey was 2.8 ± 2.1 (NRS, 0–10). The median for the most pain in the prior 24 hours was 7 (NRS, 0–10; interquartile range, 5–9). Five items from the survey were significantly associated with the satisfaction level. The predictor with the highest associated odds ratio (OR) with satisfaction was the ability to participate in pain management decisions (OR, 1.45; P < .0001). Another positively associated predictor was receiving helpful information about pain treatment options (OR, 1.31; P = .002). Negatively associated predictors of patient satisfaction included level of pain intensity at time of survey (OR, 0.76; P = .002), lowest pain score in the prior 24 hours (OR, 0.70; P = .0006), and having pain interfere with sleep in the postoperative period (OR, 0.72; P = .037).
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings highlight several factors associated with patient satisfaction with acute postoperative pain management. Interventions focused on achieving acceptable pain levels for the majority of the time, ensuring that patients are able to get sleep, providing patients with helpful information about their pain treatment, and, most importantly, allowing patients to participate in decisions about their pain management may improve patient satisfaction with postoperative pain management.