Pain Treatment Services Research and Innovation

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The Pain Treatment Service at Boston Children's Hospital was established in 1986 by Drs. Charles Berde, Navil Sethna, Bruce Masek, Claire McCarthy and their colleagues as the first multidisciplinary program in the world for pediatric acute and chronic pain management. Our program remains the most clinically active program of its kind in the world.

Among the innovations from our program over the past 22 years include the following firsts:

  • First multidisciplinary pediatric acute and chronic pain management program

  • First ABA-accredited pain fellowship with a specific focus on pediatric pain

  • First randomized controlled trial of patient controlled analgesia (PCA) in pediatrics

  • First prospective controlled study of rehabilitative treatment of CRPS/RSD in pediatrics

  • First study of normal reference ranges for quantitative sensory testing (QST) in healthy children and adolescents

  • First study of sensory abnormalities in pediatric CRPS/RSD using QST

  • First study of cardiovascular autonomic regulation in pediatric CRPS/RSD

  • First study of brain imaging using fMRI in pediatric CRPS/RSD

  • First case series on patterns of opioid dose escalation in pediatric advanced cancer

  • First study of safety and recovery parameters for midazolam for sedation for pediatric oncology procedures

  • First case series on regional anesthesia for refractory pain in children with advanced cancer

  • First study of the safety of postoperative use of ketorolac in children

  • First study using transfer function analysis of heart rate variability to examine cardiovascular autonomic regulation in infants undergoing hernia repairs under spinal anesthesia First randomized controlled trial of methadone for postoperative pain in children

  • First study of the pharmacology of the local anesthetic 2-chloroprocaine in infants

  • First randomized crossover trial of lumbar sympathetic lidocaine and intravenous lidocaine in pediatric CRPS/RSD.

  • First double-blind study using a crossover paradigm to establish steady state potency ratio of morphine to hydromorphone in children

For more information, please visit our research site.

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The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO