New research presented at the ANESTHESIOLOGYTM annual meeting seeks to refine the understanding of the relationship between the psychological cognitive disorder known as catastrophizing and the emergence of chronic pain after surgery. According to the authors, most studies to date have only examined the effect of catastrophizing in isolation and did not factor in other elements such as preoperative pain or additional psychological factors.
Results from this new study showed that patients identified as high catastrophizers were more likely to have higher pain scores postoperatively, even when presurgical baseline pain scores were considered. The authors suggest that more attention to presurgical evaluation could help to identify those elective surgery candidates who might benefit from treatment of this cognitive disorder to prevent the development of chronic pain. A news story about the findings may be read here.