Interventional pain management for chronic pain: a survey of physicians in Canada
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PURPOSE: The use of interventional pain management (IPM) modalities to alleviate chronic pain is increasing despite the lack of high-quality evidence. We undertook this survey to explore patterns, training, and attributes of IPM practice. METHODS: We administered a 32-item survey via seven Canadian physician member organizations, whose members were engaged in the management of chronic pain. RESULTS: Of 777 physicians contacted, 256 (33%) responded: 45 (6%) declined to participate and 211 (27%) agreed to participate; the number of participants answering any given question varied. One hundred and sixty-nine of 194 (87%) practiced IPM and 103 of 194 (53%) managed only non-cancer pain. Pain management training of ≥ six months was associated with higher odds of IPM training (odds ratio [OR], 2.98; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.32 to 6.7), but not necessarily ongoing IPM practice (OR, 1.97; 95% CI, 0.74 to 5.3). A substantial percentage of physicians (108 of 168 [64%]) practiced IPM based only on training received during either their base residency program or courses. Only 48 of 186 (26%) felt that there were adequate opportunities for IPM training, and 69 of 186 (37%) believed that their colleagues practiced IPM in accordance with the best current evidence. CONCLUSIONS: Our survey indicates that IPM practice and training were not uniform, and that interventional therapies for chronic pain may not be performed in accordance with the best available evidence. Our survey highlights a lack of IPM training opportunities, which may result in substandard training. Concerted efforts involving physician organizations and regulators are needed to standardize IPM training and develop clinical guidelines to optimize evidence-based practice.
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