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Background: In the light of the impact that pain has on patients, emergency department (ED) physicians need to be well versed in its management, particularly in its acute presentation. The goal of the present study was to evaluate the prevalence of unrelieved acute pain during ED stay in a Moroccan ED, and to identify risk factors of unrelieved pain. Methods: Prospective survey of patients admitted to the emergency department of Ibn Sina teaching university hospital in Rabat (Morocco). All patients with acute pain over a period of 10 days, 24 hours each day were included. From each patient, demographic and clinical data, pain characteristics, information concerning pain management, outcomes, and length of stay were collected. Pain intensity was evaluated both on arrival and before discharge using Numerical Rating Scale (NRS). Comparison between patient with relieved and unrelieved pain, and factors associated with unrelieved pain were analyzed using stepwise forward logistic regression. Results: Among 305 patients who complained of acute pain, we found high levels of intense to severe pain at ED arrival (91.1%). Pain intensity decreased at discharge (46.9%). Unrelieved pain was assessed in 24.3% of cases.Patients with unrelieved pain were frequently accompanied (82.4% vs 67.1%, p = 0.012), and more admitted daily than night (8 am-20 pm: 78.4% vs 64.9%; 21 pm-7 am: 21.6% vs 35.1%, p = 0.031), and complained chiefly of pain less requently (56.8% vs 78.8%, p<0.001). They had progressive pain (73% vs 44.2%, p<0.001), and had a longer duration of pain before ED arrival (72-168 h: 36.5% vs 16.9%; >168 h: 25.5% vs 17.7%, p<0.001).In multivariate analysis, predictor factors of unrelieved pain were: accompanied patients (OR = 2.72, 95% CI = 1.28- 5.76, p = 0.009), pain as chief complaint (OR = 2.32, 95% CI = 1,25-4.31, p = 0.007), cephalic site of pain (OR = 6.28, 95% CI = 2.26-17.46, p<0.001), duration of pain before admission more than 72 hours (72-168 h (OR = 7.85, 95% CI = 3.13-25.30, p = 0.001), and >168 h (OR = 4.55, 95% CI = 1.77-14.90, p = 0.02). Conclusion: This study reported high levels of intense to severe pain at ED arrival. However, one quarter patients felt on discharge from the ED that their pain had not been relieved. The relief of pain in ED depend both sociodemographic, clinical, and pain characteristics factors.
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