[Identifying and prioritising adverse episodes and failures related to patient safety in Pain Treatment Units]

Rev Esp Anestesiol Reanim. 2012 Oct;59(8):423-9. doi: 10.1016/j.redar.2012.04.023. Epub 2012 Jun 27.
[Article in Spanish]


Objectives: An expert group coordinated by the Andalusian School of Public Health identified the most serious and frequent adverse events in Pain Treatment Units (PTU), as well the failures and underlying causes, as a prior step to preparing preventive actions. The aims of the project were to identify potential adverse events in Pain Treatment Units, identify failures and their underlying causes, and prioritise these failures according to a failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) tool.

Material and methods: The method employed consisted of a literature search, the selection of an expert group with experience in PTU, creating a catalogue of adverse events using the generation of ideas technique, and putting the FMEA and Risk Priority Index tools into practice.

Results: Up to 66 types of adverse events were identified associated with; medication (30), invasive techniques (15), care process (10), patient information and education (6), and clinical practice (5). It was found that up to 101 failures could be triggered by these adverse events, and that 242 causes could lead to these failures.

Conclusions: The results indicated the need to work principally in two directions, improving the care process in the PTU (the health care organisation), and the professional work, this latter having two aspects, improving the clinical practice, and increase professional skills by means of specific training. Communication, whether inter-professional or inter-department, or with the patient and their family, is identified as a key aspect for improvement.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Analgesia / adverse effects
  • Analgesia / mortality
  • Analgesics / adverse effects
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology
  • Cross Infection / etiology
  • Cross Infection / transmission
  • Health Priorities
  • Humans
  • Medication Errors
  • Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced
  • Nervous System Diseases / epidemiology
  • Nervous System Diseases / etiology
  • Pain Clinics* / organization & administration
  • Pain Clinics* / statistics & numerical data
  • Pain Management / adverse effects
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Patient Safety*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Management* / organization & administration
  • Risk Management* / statistics & numerical data
  • Treatment Failure


  • Analgesics