The Hidden Problem of Pain
Published In: Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, v. 38, no. 5, Nov. 2009, p. 698-707
Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2009
Although dyspnea and fatigue are hallmark symptoms of heart failure (HF), the burden of pain may be underrecognized. This study assessed pain in HF and identified contributing factors. As part of a multicenter study, 96 veterans with HF (96% male, 67 11 years) completed measures of symptoms, pain (Brief Pain Inventory [BPI]), functional status (Functional Morbidity Index), and psychological state (Patient Health Questionnaire-2 and Generalized Anxiety Disorder-2). Single items from the BPI interference and the quality of life-end of life measured social and spiritual well-being. Demographic and clinical variables were obtained by chart audit. Correlation and linear regression models evaluated physical, emotional, social, and spiritual factors associated with pain. Fifty-three (55.2%) HF patients reported pain, with a majority (36 [37.5%]) rating their pain as moderate to severe (pain >or = 4/10). The presence of pain was reported more frequently than dyspnea (67 [71.3%] vs. 58 [61.7%]). Age (P = 0.02), psychological (depression: P = 0.002; anxiety: P = 0.001), social (P < 0.001), spiritual (P = 0.010), and physical (health status: P = 0.001; symptom frequency: P = 0.000; functional status: P = 0.002) well-being were correlated with pain severity. In the resulting model, 38% of the variance in pain severity was explained (P < 0.001); interference with relations (P < 0.001) and symptom number (P = 0.007) contributed to pain severity. The association of physical, psychological, social, and spiritual domains with pain suggests that multidisciplinary interventions are needed to address the complex nature of pain in HF.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.