Chronic pain among the hospitalized patients after the 22 July 2011 terror attacks in Oslo and at Utøya Island

Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2019 Aug;63(7):913-922. doi: 10.1111/aas.13373. Epub 2019 Apr 9.


Background: On 22 July 2011, 48 people were hospitalized due to physical injuries from gun shots or explosion, following 2 terror attacks in the Oslo area, Norway. In this study, we have investigated the occurrence of chronic pain, the severity and consequences of chronic pain in these patients, 3 to 4 years after the incidents.

Methods: Totally 43 eligible terror trauma patients were invited to participate in the study, 30 patients were included. They underwent a consultation with a psychologist and a physician; containing psychological assessment, neuropsychological screening, a standardized clinical interview, medical examination, and a pain protocol.

Results: In 18 (60%) the injury was severe, as defined by New Injury Severity Score > 15. Twenty-four patients (80%) reported injury-related chronic pain after the trauma, in 22 with consequences on daily life. Analgesics were used by 20 patients, including 5 in need of opioids. Ten patients had unmet needs of further specialist pain care. In 12 patients, the average pain score last week was above three on a 0-10 Numeric Rating Scale. In these patients, clinical signs of neuropathic pain were evident in 10, as tested by the Douleur Neuropathique score. There were significant correlations (P < 0.05) between severity of chronic pain and presence of post-traumatic stress symptoms, reduced quality of life, reduced psychosocial and physical function; but no correlation with pre-injury patient characteristics or the degree of physical injury.

Conclusion: Chronic pain was frequent and significant, irrespective of injury severity, in these patients who obtained their physical injuries under extreme psychological conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Chronic Pain / drug therapy
  • Chronic Pain / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Inpatients
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuralgia / epidemiology
  • Neuralgia / etiology
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Norway
  • Pain Measurement
  • Quality of Life
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Terrorism / psychology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / psychology
  • Young Adult


  • Analgesics