Suitable postoperative pain control (POPC) requires both the application of appropriate pain therapy and the continuous supervision of its therapeutic effects. In our hospital, POPC was, until recently, limited to the first 48 postoperative hours. The purpose of this retrospective study was to assess, the evolution of POPC at the end of the first postoperative 48 hours among major abdominal surgery patients using the Acute Pain Service (APS) database. Further we sought to establish the indications to extend POPC to the entire postoperative period. Regardless of the type of protocol applied after surgery, 79.6% of cases showed pain control was still needed after the 48(th) hour. In about half of the cases, POPC was perpetuated with only the drug category or by dosage modifications, while in roughly one third of the cases we adopted both drug and administration route changes. These changes were made by the APS after a thorough evaluation of the patients' conditions and needs in terms of analgesia. Interestingly, in approximately 5% of cases the surgeon decided to interrupt pain therapy. When applying evidence-based guideline protocols, organizational issues are important as well as a better definition of the APS role in POPC, at least from the timing point of view.
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