Pain Control in the Intensive Care Unit

  • S. Brett
  • U. Waheed
Conference paper


Analgesia is defined as the absence of sensibility to pain or noxious stimuli in the conscious patient. Patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) commonly have pain and physical discomfort from a number of factors, which include pre existing disease, invasive procedures, and trauma. Pain and discomfort can also be caused by monitoring, routine nursing care (airway suctioning, physiotherapy, patient mobilization and dressing changes) and therapeutic devices such as drains, non-invasive ventilation, and endotracheal tubes. Inadequate analgesia can contribute to inadequate sleep leading to exhaustion, disorientation and agitation. Pain evokes a stress response characterized by tachycardia, increased myocardial oxygen consumption, hypercoagulability, immunosuppression, and persistent catabolism [1]. Poorly controlled analgesia may be associated with pulmonary dysfunction due to guarding of muscles around areas of pain leading to restrictive movements of the chest wall and diaphragm.


Intensive Care Unit Intensive Care Unit Patient Intensive Care Unit Setting Verbal Rating Scale Acute Pain Management 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Brett
  • U. Waheed

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