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Pain Behaviors Analyzed by Videorecording in Brain-Injured Patients Admitted to the Intensive Care Unit

Published:August 31, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pmn.2022.07.008

      Abstract

      Aim

      To describe and classify pain behaviors (facial and body) in brain-injured patients with a low level of consciousness before, during, and after the performance of painful and non-painful care procedures.

      Methods

      Facial behaviors and body movements in brain-injured patients were videotaped at rest, during the application of three care procedures (two painful and one non-painful), and 15 minutes after completion of these procedures. Each video recording was evaluated by expert evaluators blinded to each other. For each of the behaviors observed, all possible combinations between the three procedures and/or time were compared using the McNemar test. Effect size was measured by the difference in proportions using the Wilson score 95% confidence intervals.

      Results

      Twenty-seven patients were included. The mean (standard deviation) Glasgow Coma Score was 5.4 (1.9). A total of 33 behaviors (29 active, four neutral) were registered. Expression of behaviors was more common during the painful procedures compared with the other time points (non-painful procedures, baseline, and final evaluation). Inter-evaluator agreement was substantial (Kappa index >0.7) in more than 50% of the observed behaviors.

      Conclusions

      In this study involving brain-injured patients with a low level of consciousness, facial, body, and ventilation-related behaviors were more common during painful procedures. Agreement between evaluators to detect the presence or absence of these behaviors was substantial. These findings underscore the need to develop pain assessment measures specific to this patient population.
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