Current Content
Volume 43 - Number 4
July/August 2017

Assessing Use of Pain Medication After Pediatric Cardiac Catheterizations
Emily Moore, Arlene Armatage, Jennifer Keylon, Matthew D. Files, and Jack C. Salerno

Little data exist regarding pain after a pediatric cardiac catheterization and whether there is a requirement for opioids. As part of an improvement activity, a prospective cohort study was performed to assess pain related to cardiac catheterization and subsequent usage of pain medication following a cardiac catheterization. Of 745 patients studied, the majority had either no pain or pain controlled by acetaminophen. There were 14 (1.9%) patients who had pain unrelieved by acetaminophen, with 7 of these patients having pain at their vascular access site with associated complications. Findings indicate a limited number of pediatric patients require opioid pain relief following cardiac catheterization. This study changed practice surrounding post-procedural pain related to cardiac catheterization because opioids were no longer prescribed. Nurse follow up occurred within 48 hours of each procedure, and any patient experiencing pain was immediately triaged and evaluated by the healthcare team. The study showed persistent pain following a cardiac catheterization is an important sign of potential complication. Although pain control is important, it is also important to target pain relief to the appropriate level required for comfort.