KIMS Doctors’ Innovation: A Device to Measure Pain


In a breakthrough, a team of doctors at Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS), have developed a device to measure the pain in a human being, much like a thermometer that is used to measure the body temperature.

The prototype, called “Objective Pain Score’’ (OPS), lends a level of accuracy to the ache, soreness or discomfort endured by a patient and helps the treating physician to act accordingly and prescribe medicines to manage it effectively during the consultation or at an intensive care unit (ICU).

The breakthrough is the outcome of a research work carried out by Dr. Sailaja Sukanya, Post-Graduate Resident at the Department of Anaesthesiology, KIMS.

The study was conducted under the guidance of Prof. (Dr.) Amit Pradhan and Dr. Ashok Kumar Badamali formulated the OPS which could be validated with the physical condition of the patient or Visual Rating Scale (VRS).

The scientific paper was titled “Development and validation of an Objective Pain Scoring System (OPS) and its correlation with VAS score for evaluation of postoperative pain in patients undergoing cardiac surgeries”.

The new method would become the new approach in the domain of pain management, said KIMS Medical Superintendent Prof Dr. R C Das.

He said the study evoked wide appreciation from experts who attended the (National Conference of Indian Society for Study of Pain) ISSPCON-2022, held here recently. Dr. Sailaja Sukanya presented her research work at the event.

“The algorithm created by this research can facilitate the conceptualization of a device for automatic delivery of analgesics/ painkillers in patients corresponding to their objective pain score during surgery and mechanical ventilation in ICU”, Dr. Das said.

Though heart rate and blood pressure have been used to assess pain, there has been a lack of any robust study for objective assessment of pain, according to experts.

Pain, in common understanding, can be termed as a distressing outcome of any underlying disease. International Association for the Study of Pain defines it as “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with, or resembling that associated with, actual or potential tissue damage”.

Currently, across the world, there are various methods like Numerical Rating Scale (NRS), Verbal Rating Scale (VRS), and the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) to quantify pain but they are mostly subjective. It depends upon how the pain is experienced or perceived by the individual. Doctors, based on the patient’s perception of pain, commonly use VAS for the assessment of the degree of pain. The limitation with the VAS score is that it is generally subjective; it cannot quantify pain during the surgery and mechanical ventilation in ICU.