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Regional Anesthesia Eases Wounded Soldiers' Pain in Iraq and Afghanistan
Date:1/29/2009

HONOLULU, Jan. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Body armor, rapid transport, and artificial blood products have exponentially improved care and survival for soldiers during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, the treatment of their pain during medical transit from battlefield to combat hospitals is still often treated only with morphine. New data from researchers working with wounded soldiers showed that continuous peripheral nerve block (CPNB) could be a viable new option for physicians treating casualties and that soldiers' perception of care is as important as the care itself.

Two abstracts were presented today at the American Academy of Pain Medicine's 25th Annual Meeting revealing insights into pain treatment for soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. The results could have broader implications for the growing evidence that when pain is treated as a disease, overall medical outcomes have the potential to improve.

In the first abstract, Dr. Trip Buckenmaier and his colleagues from Walter Reed Army Medical Center surveyed 110 soldiers who had been injured severely enough to need transport from the battlefields in the Middle East to Lundstahl Regional Medical Center (LRMC) in Germany from July 2007 through February 2008. Instead of just morphine, some of the soldiers were given CPNB -- a regional anesthetic technique -- to treat their pain, or morphine and CPNB. During airlift transport, all soldiers were asked about the following: pain they were experiencing 'now,' percent pain relief on a scale from 0 (no pain relief) to 100 (complete pain relief), as well as measures of anxiety, distress, and worry during flight on a scale of 0 (none) to 10 (extreme).

Results revealed that 45 percent of these soldiers' pain was alleviated during transport and 65 percent while at LRMC. Soldiers given CPNB had significantly less average pain and less pain 'right now' when compared to the soldiers without CPNB Th
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SOURCE American Academy of Pain Medicine
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