Management of burn pain in children


Management of burn pain in children


Osgood PF; Szyfelbein SK


Pediatric Clinics Of North America




Child; Humans; Analgesics; Patient Compliance; Analgesics/administration & dosage/therapeutic use; Bandages/adverse effects; Burns/complications/physiopathology; Opioid/administration & dosage/pharmacokinetics/pharmacology/therapeutic use; Pain/physiopathology/therapy


In spite of the many possible methods of pain control in the burned child satisfactory pain management may still be a problem, at times formidable. The most fruitful approach would seem to be frequent assessment of pain in the individual patient with a readiness to try alternative or additional measures when relief seems inadequate. In this way the most effective analgesic agent(s), route(s), and frequency of administration, as well as nonpharmacologic methods, can be determined for each child. Among those able to speak, pain estimation is usually easily accomplished. In infants and those intubated for supported ventilation, however, the task is more difficult. Nevertheless, careful observation of physiologic signs such as heart rate and blood pressure, facial expressions, body movement and position, and the quality of an infant's cries may in sum be sufficient to evaluate the intensity of pain. Monitoring of analgesic plasma levels to ascertain that they are within the ranges established for good analgesia and even determination of beta-endorphin blood levels may also aid in judging the adequacy of analgesia. By tailoring pain management methods to the needs of each child it may be possible to keep pain at acceptable levels in victims of burn injury.


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Osgood PF; Szyfelbein SK, “Management of burn pain in children,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed August 16, 2022,

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