HI-TENS Reduces Moderate-to-Severe Pain Associated With Most Wound Care Procedures: A Pilot Study.
NLM Title Abbreviation
Biol Res Nurs
Biological Research for Nursing
DOI of Published Version
This study systematically examined pain associated with wound care procedures (WCPs) and evaluated the effectiveness of high-intensity transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (HI-TENS) for reducing this pain in a two-phase design. Phase 1 (N = 57) examined patient, wound, and procedural factors, as well as analgesic intake, associated with WCPs. Pain during the WCPs was rated on a 0-10 numerical scale. Subjects reported a mean pain of 6.0 (standard deviation 3.04) during Phase 1, with 43 (75.4%) subjects experiencing moderate or severe pain (i.e., ≥4). Subjects who received opioid and/or nonopioid analgesia 1 hr before or during the WCPs (36.8%) reported significantly higher pain levels than those who had not received analgesia (p = .013). In Phase 2, 23 subjects with ≥4 pain during Phase 1 had HI-TENS applied to the area surrounding the wound during the WCPs. HI-TENS significantly reduced WCP pain by a mean of 2.0 (±2.31; effect size = 0.67; p = .001). This effect was significant for subjects with severe Phase 1 pain (i.e., ≥8; effect size = 1.00; p = .007) but not for subjects with moderate Phase 1 pain (i.e., 4-7; effect size = 0.40; p = .053). These findings demonstrate that pain during WCPs is a significant problem, that nurses appropriately administer analgesics but these are not sufficient, and that using HI-TENS may further reduce pain, particularly in patients experiencing severe WCP pain.