J Burn Care Res. 2022 Aug 1:irac108. doi: 10.1093/jbcr/irac108. Online ahead of print.
The relationship between preprocedural anxiety and pain is not clear but has the potential to change the way pediatric patients need to be cared for prior to burn procedures. Using results from our recent randomized clinical trial among outpatient burn patients (n=90) age 6-17 years, the objective of this subsequent analysis was to assess whether preprocedural anxiety was associated with self-reported and researcher observed pain scores. Anxiety before the dressing change was assessed using an abbreviated State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children (range 6-21) and reported with 95% confidence intervals (CI). Self-reported pain was reported using a Visual Analog Scale (range 0-100) and observed pain was assessed using the Face, Legs, Activity, Cry, and Consolability-revised scale. Over half of patients (58.9%) reported mild anxiety (score <12) and about 5% of patients reported severe anxiety (score >16). Younger children (6-8 years) reported higher anxiety scores than older children (15-17 years), but the difference did not achieve statistical significance (mean=12.7, 95% CI: 11.5-13.9, p=0.09). Nonparametric spearman correlation indicated that anxiety score was significantly correlated with observed pain (p=0.01) and self-reported overall pain neared statistical significance (p=0.06). In the final logistic regression of reporting moderate-to-severe pain (pain score >30), the association between anxiety scores and self-reported overall moderate-to-severe pain was statistically significant (p=0.03) when adjusting for race, healing degree, and pain medication use within 6 hours prior to burn dressing care. This pilot study provides preliminary data showing that anxiety before outpatient pediatric burn dressing changes is significantly associated with self-reported overall moderate-to-severe pain.