Pediatric Pain Management
The Center for Pain Relief at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta/Emory is both an acute and chronic pain service that works with children up to 21 years of age. The pediatric anesthesiology fellow has the opportunity to learn from a diverse patient population and trains in one of the largest hospital systems for pediatrics in the country. During the pediatric anesthesiology fellowship, the trainee spends from two to four months on the pediatric pain medicine service.
While on the acute pain service, the fellow is an integral part of pain management in the peri-operative setting. The fellow learns a wide variety of regional approaches. While placement of epidural catheters is routine, many ultrasound-guided regional blocks are carried out and these include femoral, sciatic, transversus abdominis plane (TAP) and rectus sheath blocks. In addition, we extend our services beyond the operating rooms. We are asked to see inpatients for consultations on a daily basis. On this rotation, with complex pediatric patients, the fellow learns the principals of pain management and develops skills to appropriately manage patient controlled analgesia, opiates and adjunct medications. Our patients’ medical illnesses include many types of cancer, sickle cell disease, traumatic and orthopedic problems and other medically complex diseases. The fellow will become very familiar with the multi-modal approach to pain.
In the outpatient clinic setting, pediatric patients with chronic pain problems are seen. The fellow learns to care for pediatric patients with sickle cell disease, functional abdominal pain, inflammatory bowel disease and many amplified pain syndromes.
In both the inpatient and outpatient setting, we work closely with our pediatric pain psychologists who help to assess mental health issues such as anxiety and depression and how they contribute to the patient’s pain experience. The psychologist plays an important role in teaching non-pharmacological pain management strategies such as visualization, relaxation and distraction techniques.
Pediatric pain medicine services are rapidly growing into a necessity for pediatric hospitals across the country. While not every pediatric hospital offers a pain medicine service, we believe that the education in pediatric pain medicine at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta/Emory is a richly rewarding and valuable experience.
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