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VOLUME 24 , ISSUE 8 ( August, 2020 ) > List of Articles


Behavioral Pain Assessment Tool: Yet Another Attempt to Measure Pain in Sedated and Ventilated Patients!

Keywords : Behavior, Pain assessment, Sedation, Ventilation

Citation Information : Behavioral Pain Assessment Tool: Yet Another Attempt to Measure Pain in Sedated and Ventilated Patients!. Indian J Crit Care Med 2020; 24 (8):617-618.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10071-23536

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 21-09-2020

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2020; The Author(s).


The interesting study by Mitra et al. in this issue explores this newly developed pain assessment tool— Behavior pain assessment tool (BPAT) for critical patients who cannot communicate. The authors explored the tool in a prospective survey in 400 adults, noncomatose intensive care unit (ICU) patients. BPAT scoring was done within 2–3 hours of admission in ICU, followed by every day in the morning, and also before and after ICU procedures associated with pain. The BPAT scoring was done by untrained senior residents independent of each other. Majority of the patients had BPAT score of ≤3 (initial score in 83.5% and baseline score in 74.5% patients). In all, 56.5% patients had a postprocedure pain score of ≤3, highlighting the role of institutional sedation–analgesia protocol, as all patients received either morphine or fentanyl infusion along with midazolam infusion. Grimace was the most liked behavior (67%) by the observers, whereas closed eyes was the least liked (59%). Closed eyes behavior was felt to have poor utility in paralyzed, ventilated patients. Authors feel that as verbal and bodily responses could not be assessed in these patients, the BPAT can be further modified to observe pain in such patients. The behaviors like verbal complaints, muscle rigidity, and clenched fist were also liked less. For most behavior patterns liked by observers, the κ coefficient was quite high (>0.9). The BPAT tool was found easy to understand (93.3%) and apply (91.8%) by untrained observers. Most observers (59.25%) considered that the time spent on calculating BPAT was short, although the timelines have not been defined. The study again confirms that sedated, paralyzed, and ventilated patients are the most difficult group for assessment of pain. Interobserver variability may lead to subjective bias. The study has not looked at the impact of BPAT scoring on reduction or adjustment of opioid needs of these patients. Further studies may throw more light on the practical applications of BPAT score, and comparative studies between BPAT, behavioral pain scale (BPS), and critical-care pain observation tool (CPOT) would be very interesting.

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