Validation of the COMFORT Behavior Scale and the FLACC Scale for Pain Assessment in Chinese Children after Cardiac Surgery

School of Nursing, Tianjin Medical University, Tianjin, China.
Pain management nursing: official journal of the American Society of Pain Management Nurses (Impact Factor: 1.79). 03/2012; 13(1):18-26. DOI: 10.1016/j.pmn.2010.07.002
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Appropriate pain assessment plays a key role in understanding the pain status of critically ill children. However, the utility of the face, legs, activity, cry, consolability (FLACC) scale and the COMFORT Behavior (COMFORT-B) scale have not been extensively explored for children after cardiac surgery in China. A repeated-observation study was conducted to evaluate the concurrent validity and the sensitivity and specificity of the COMFORT-B and FLACC scales for pain assessment after cardiac surgery in 0-7-year-old patients. Patients were assessed with the observational visual analog scale (VASobs), FLACC scale, and COMFORT-B scale simultaneously at 18 fixed time periods for 3 days. Correlations among pain assessments were computed to calculate concurrent validity. Receiver operating characteristic curve analyses identified the FLACC and COMFORT-B scores that could best discriminate pain and no pain based on the VASobs. Multiple regression analyses were performed with FLACC and COMFORT-B pain scores as dependent variables and disease-related treatment characteristics as predictor variables for conducting the analysis. A total of 170 children (98 boys and 72 girls) were included. Significantly positive correlations, ranging from 0.31 to 0.86, were found among the COMFORT-B, FLACC, and VASobs pain assessment instruments. The COMFORT-B and the FLACC scores for children assessed to be in pain (i.e., VASobs ≥4), were significantly higher than scores for children not in pain (VASobs <4). COMFORT-B showed good sensitivity (86%) and specificity (83%) with a cutoff point of 13. FLACC showed excellent sensitivity (98%) and good specificity (88%) for a cutoff point of 2. The COMFORT-B and FLACC scales seem to be useful tools in pain assessment for Chinese children at postcardiac surgery stages, but the study identified that this group of children demonstrated a lower cutoff point for pain than originally set for these two instruments.

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May 20, 2014