Validation of the Italian version of the Critical Pain Observation Tool in brain-injured critically ill adults

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Francesco Sulla
Nilson De Souza Ramos
Noemi Terzi
Tania Trenta
Mariella Uneddu
Melanny Alessandra Zaldivar Cruces
Leopoldo Sarli


CPOT, Pain measurement, behavioural rating scale, intensive care unit, validation study, brain injury


Background and aim: Pain in intensive care units (ICUs) is a frequent and often undermanaged problem. Brain-injured patients are often unable to reliably self-report their pain, calling forth the need to use behavioural scales such as the Critical-Care Pain Observation Tool (CPOT). This study aimed to test the reliability and validity of the Italian CPOT use with brain-injured ICU adults. Method: A sample of 50 adults critical care patients was included. Each patient was assessed by two independent observers at three predefined times – at rest; during mobilization for hygiene; 20 minutes later – using the CPOT, PAINAD, and NRS. Results: A good correlation was found between independent observers scores during painful procedure, establishing interrater reliability of CPOT. Criterion validation was supported by a strong correlation between CPOT and PAINAD scores, and a moderate relation between CPOT and NRS scores. The CPOT was able to discriminate between patients undergoing painful versus non-painful procedures. However, PAINAD performed better in this sample, as revealed by the comparison between the two AUC of ROC curves. Conclusions: The Italian CPOT use was found reliable and valid in this patient group.


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