It turns out to be difficult to find out exactly how much a child who cannot yet speak suffers after a surgical operation. Researchers at the University Hospital of La Paz, in Madrid, have validated the 'Llanto' scale, the first, and only, tool in Spanish which measures infant pain rapidly and simply.
"The lack of appropriate tools prevents health professionals from knowing if a pre-verbal child who cannot tell us how much a surgical wound hurts, is being treated correctly", explains Francisco Reinoso, lead author of the study and head of the section of Paediatric Anaesthesia at the University Hospital of La Paz, in Madrid, speaking to SINC.
Aiming to address this problem, the researchers have validated the first and only scale in the Spanish tongue which measures pain in the under-threes. With this tool, called 'Llanto' (an acronym for Spanish words meaning crying, attitude, breathing pattern, postural tone and facial observation), health staff can identify minors who have acute pain after an operation, estimate the intensity of their suffering, and check that the treatment used is effective.
Until now, pain had been measured in children who could speak, using the same scales as for adults. "There are some studies carried out in younger children, but with tools in English, not always validated in Spanish, such as the CHEOPS scale", says Reinoso.
The study, published in Anales de Pediatra, was carried out in 54 children aged between one month and six years after this age, children are able to explain the pain they suffer- who had undergone surgical operations at the University Hospital of La Paz, and who were in the Postanaesthetic Recovery Unit.
Three staff -a paediatric anaesthesiologist, a resident doctor, and a nurse- were in charge of observing the children and they measured their type of crying, psychological attitude, breathing pattern, motor tone and facial expression. The observations were ma
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology