Characteristics of pain managed at home in children and adolescents with sickle cell disease by using diary self-reports

J Pain. 2002 Dec;3(6):461-70. doi: 10.1054/jpai.2002.128064.


Pain can begin in the first year of life for individuals with sickle cell disease (SCD) and continue in an unpredictably recurrent manner throughout their life span. Sickle vaso-occlusive pain (sickle pain) can also occur simultaneously with pain of other origins, complicating both assessment and management. Aims of this research were to describe the reliability and validity of a daily diary for data collection with children and adolescents with SCD and to describe characteristics of vaso-occlusive sickle pain episodes (VOE) and other pain reported by children and adolescents with SCD along with home pain management strategies. Thirty-nine children and adolescents (mean age, 10.9 +/- 3.6 years) completed diaries twice daily at home for up to 3 years (mean, 417.9 +/- 272.2 diary days) with excellent compliance. Sickle pain alone was reported on 8.4% of days (n = 1515 days), whereas other pain occurred on 2.7% of days (n = 490) and both sickle pain and other pain on 5.7% (n = 1041 days). Other pain only episodes were shorter and involved fewer sites than sickle pain only episodes. Sickle pain occurred in the extremities and hips, whereas most other pain occurred in the head-neck area. Analgesic medication was taken on 85% of days of sickle pain, whereas analgesics were taken on only 60% of days with other pain. The diary used in this study is a valid and reliable self-report tool. The use of home diaries will improve the understanding of sickle pain and its management and assist in identifying other pain syndromes that may require alternative management.