Impact of Parental Primary Spoken Language on Postoperative Pain Management in Children, a Retrospective Cohort Study

Children (Basel). 2022 May 18;9(5):739. doi: 10.3390/children9050739.


BACKGROUND: Healthcare providers encounter varying languages every day in patient care. The goal of this study was to examine whether a difference exists in pain scoring and treatment amongst pediatric patients whose families’ primary language was not English. We hypothesized that patients of both Arabic-speaking (AS) and Spanish-speaking (SS) backgrounds received higher pain scores and higher daily opioid equivalents (OEs) postoperatively compared to English-speaking (ES) patients.

METHODS: This was a retrospective cohort study of patients undergoing surgery for treatment of various esophageal and airway disorders from 2014 to 2019. Records were queried for patients undergoing thoracotomies for treatment of esophageal and airway disorders. Analysis was focused on the three most common languages in this selected population: English, Arabic, and Spanish. Propensity score matching was utilized for comparisons of pain scores between AS, SS, and ES patient groups. Primary outcomes were opioid equivalents (OEs) and pain scores postoperatively. Multivariable median regression analysis was used to perform an adjusted comparison of pain scores as well as OEs.

RESULTS: A total of 610 patient encounters were included in our analysis. In propensity matched analysis, there were no significant differences in OEs between all groups postoperatively. However, statistically significant higher pain scores were reported in the ES group matched AS groups.

CONCLUSIONS: Language differences did not lead to difference in pain assessment and treatment.

PMID:35626916 | PMC:PMC9139688 | DOI:10.3390/children9050739