Introduction: Pain relief is one of the most important interventions for out-of-hospital patient care providers. This paper documents the need for and benefits from the administration of fentanyl to trauma patients during critical care transport.
Methods: We underwent a retrospective review of the transport charts of 100 trauma patients who received fentanyl analgesia during transport and who were able to use a numeric response scale to rate their pain from 0 to 10.
Results: Mean initial pain report was 7.6 +/- 2.2 units, relieved to 3.7 +/- 2.8 units by a mean total fentanyl dose of 1.6 +/- 0.8 microg/kg (P < .001). Neither initial pain level nor pain relief differed between male and female patients, but did differ between patients originating at the site of injury and those transferred between hospitals. Fentanyl dose correlated poorly with the magnitude of pain relief (r = 0.22), but a dose greater than 2 microg/kg provided more relief than lower doses (5.1 +/- 2.1 vs 3.6 +/- 2.4, P < .02).
Conclusion: Fentanyl analgesia from these critical care transport teams provided significant pain relief to trauma patients. Pain reduction was greater for patients who received more than 2.0 microg/kg of fentanyl.