Early Postoperative Pain and its Predictors in the Adult to Adult Living Donor Liver Transplantation Cohort Study

M. Susan Mandell*, Abigail R. Smith, Mary Amanda Dew, Debra B. Gordon, Susan Holtzman, Terese Howell, Andrea F. DiMartini, Zeeshan Butt, Mary Ann Simpson, Daniela P. Ladner, Christopher E. Freise, Stuart A. McCluskey, Robert A. Fisher, James V. Guarrera, Kim M. Olthoff, Elizabeth A. Pomfret

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background Little is known about how well postoperative pain is managed in living liver donors, despite pain severity being the strongest predictor of persistent pain with long-lasting disability. Methods We conducted a prospective multicenter study of 172 living liver donors. Self-reported outcomes for pain severity, activity interference, affective (emotional) reactions, adverse effects to treatment, and perceptions of care were collected using the American Pain Society Patient Outcomes Questionnaire-Revised. Mixed-effects linear regression was used to identify demographic and psychosocial predictors of subscale scores. Results Donors were young (36.8 ± 10.6) and healthy. Of 12 expert society analgesic recommendations for postoperative pain management, 49% received care conforming to 3 guidelines, and only 9% to 4 or 5. More than half reported adverse effects to analgesic treatment for moderate to severe pain that interfered with functional activity; however, emotional distress to pain was unexpectedly minimal. Female donors had higher affective (β = 0.88, P = 0.005) and adverse effects scores (β = 1.33, P < 0.001). Donors with 2 or more medical concerns before surgery averaged 1 unit higher pain severity, functional interference, adverse effects, and affective reaction subscale scores (β range 1.06-1.55, all P < 0.05). Receiving information about pain treatment options increased perception of care subscale scores (β = 1.24, P = 0.001), whereas depressive symptoms before donation were associated with lower scores (β =-1.58, P = 0.01). Conclusions Donors have a distinct profile of pain reporting that is highly influenced by psychological characteristics. Interventions to improve pain control should consider modifying donor behavioral characteristics in addition to optimizing pain care protocols.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2362-2371
Number of pages10
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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