Daily changes in pain, mood and physical function in youth hospitalized for sickle cell disease pain

William T. Zempsky, Tonya M. Palermo, John M. Corsi, Amy S. Lewandowski, Chuan Zhou, James F. Casella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Youth with sickle cell disease (SCD) are commonly hospitalized for treatment of painful vaso-occlusive episodes (VOE). However, limited data are available concerning the course of hospitalization for these children and adolescents and, in particular, whether daily changes occur in pain, emotional status and physical function. OBJECTIVES: To characterize changes in daily pain intensity, physical function and mood over the course of hospitalization, and to determine whether specific clinical characteristics were associated with these changes. METHODS: Daily ratings of pain (0 to 10 numerical rating scale) and mood (Positive and Negative Affect Scale for Children) were completed by 25 youth (11 to 20 years of age) with SCD over a total of 152 days (mean [± SD] = 6.7±5.6 days) of hospitalization. Trained raters determined each youth's daily physical function. RESULTS: Linear mixed modelling was used to examine changes in pain, mood and physical function during hospital stay. The rate of change over the course of hospitalization was significant for reductions in pain intensity (P<0.001) and improvements in physical (motor) function (P=0.001). Positive affect over time was significantly associated with subjects' physical function scores (B 0.24 [95% CI 0.12 to 0.35]) but not with their pain scores. In contrast, negative affect was positively associated with pain and inversely associated with physical function scores (B 1.58 [95% CI 0.23 to 2.93]). CONCLUSIONS: The results of the present study demonstrated that children made daily improvements in physical function and pain over hospitalization for VOE. Mood was related to changes in pain and physical recovery. Assessment of physical function and mood during hospitalization may help guide strategies to better understand the pain experience in youth with SCD hospitalized with VOE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-38
Number of pages6
JournalPain Research and Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013


  • Adolescents
  • Functional assessment
  • Pain assessment
  • Physical functioning
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Vaso-occlusive episode

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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