Assessment of pain: a comparison between patients and doctors

Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 1989 Apr;33(3):255-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-6576.1989.tb02901.x.


In a trial based on 52 patients admitted because of acute abdominal pain, we compared the assessment of pain intensity by doctors and patients according to a visual analogue scale. We found significant differences with regard to the median score of the doctors (3.4 cm) compared to the patients (6.1 cm). The correlation was 0.64 while the differences in dispersion were insignificant. Our findings indicate that it is far from unimportant who makes the pain assessment--the patient who experiences it or the doctor who evaluates it--but they also suggest that the differences could be a matter of scaling.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen*
  • Humans
  • Pain / diagnosis*
  • Pain Measurement* / methods
  • Patients*
  • Physicians*