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Pre-hospital pain management; a systematic review of proposed guidelines

Mahmoud Yousefifard, Shaghayegh Askarian-Amiri, Arian Madani Neishaboori, Mostafa Sadeghi, Peyman Saberian, Alireza Baratloo




Introduction: A standard guideline concerning pre-hospital pain management is still a matter of discussion. Therefore, the current umbrella review is determined to perform a comprehensive search in databases and Grey literature and collect and summarize the guidelines and protocols dealing with prehospital pain management.       

Methods: In the present study, all of the available guidelines and protocols concerning pre-hospital pain management were reviewed. Presented guidelines are from 2010 up to present, as the majority of guidelines are considered old and become renewed after 10 years. Finally, the development quality of each guideline was evaluated using AGREE II instrument.

Results: The search conducted in databases and non-indexed protocols resulted in inclusion of 12 pre-hospital pain management guidelines. The time interval of the guidelines was from 2010 to 2019. Four guidelines were designed for pain management in trauma patients and other guidelines were presented for all of the clinical conditions associated with pain. All of the 12 included guidelines presented pain management instructions in adults. Pain management in children was reported in 10 guidelines. All of the guidelines persisted on a standard method for pain evaluation. Pain management was categorized in three groups; mild, moderate and severe pain. Most of the guidelines recommend paracetamol as an optional treatment for management of mild pain in both adults and children. In management of moderate and severe pain, fentanyl and morphine were suggested for both adults and children. In most of the treatment guidelines fentanyl is the optional choice for children.

Conclusion: The present umbrella review has summarized the current evidence in pre-hospital pain management for the first time via investigation of guidelines and protocols related to the matter. Based on the obtained evidence, no guideline is yet presented concerning opioid-free management of moderate and severe pain. The evidence is insufficient for using non opioid medications such as ketamine.


Pain management; practice guideline; drug therapy; Emergency Medical Services


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