Objective: As shown by data from the National Tonsil Surgery Register in Sweden, tonsil surgery often causes severe pain that lasts for many days. The register data demonstrate the necessity for better evidence-based pain treatment guidelines for tonsil surgery. The guidelines, introduced in 2013, consist of both pharmacological and non-pharmacological recommendations. In the guidelines, a multimodal analgesic approach and combination of analgesics are recommended to provide effective pain treatment with limited side effects. Two national multi-professional education days on pain, pharmacology and the guidelines were offered. Web-based information about pharmacological treatment (www.tonsililloperation.se) was designed for patients and next-of-kin. The current aims were to describe adherence to the Swedish guidelines for pain treatment in tonsil surgery in pediatric patients < 18 years
Method: An inter-professional questionnaire was developed, including questions linked to the relevant guidelines. The questions came from a national mapping before the guidelines were designed. The items were discussed by an expert group, and content validity was evaluated using the content validity index.ENT-and anesthesia physicians and nurses from all 50 ENT clinics in Sweden were enrolled.
Results: Most clinics had received the guidelines, but there was a discrepancy between the professions. More than half had perused the literature review performed before the guidelines were designed, and attended themulti-professional education day. Pre- and perioperative treatment usually included paracetamol, clonidine and betamethasone. A multimodal pain approach after discharge from hospital (tonsillectomy and tonsillotomy) was used, combining paracetamol with cox-inhibitors. Most clinics used paracetamol, with a higher dose for the first 3 days (healthy children and acceptable nutrition), and a reduced dose from day 4.In case of inadequate analgesia after tonsillectomy, oral clonidine or opioids were used. Several clinics followed the recommendation to use clonidine as first choice and secondly an opioid. No respondents prescribed codeine compared to 80% at the mapping before the guidelines were designed. The guidelines were experienced as clear, safe and sufficient. The web-based information was used by most of the clinics to improve quality of care and provide facilitating tools for patients, relatives and caregivers.
Conclusion: Swedish guidelines for tonsil surgery provide practical evidence-based pain treatment recommendations. To achieve a change, multi-professional education is necessary. This needs to be repeated for a wider spread.
Future research should include evaluation through pain diaries and questionnaires to next-of-kin and children. There should be matching of data from the quality registers at each clinic, with pain variables such as unplanned health care contacts due to pain, number of days with analgesics, and return to normal diet
13th Congress of the European Society of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology (ESPO 2016), Lisbon, Portugal, June 18-21, 2016