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PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of oral sucrose solution on pain responses of neonates to arterial puncture compared with neonates who did not receive a sucrose solution.
SUBJECTS: Convenience sample of 47 neonates, 31 to 35 weeks' gestational age.
DESIGN: Double-blind, randomized controlled trial.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Changes in pain response during and after an arterial puncture.
METHODS: Infants were randomly assigned to receive a 24% sucrose solution or usual care (comfort measures only) 2 minutes before an arterial puncture. Pain, heart rate, and oxygen saturation were measured before, during, and after an arterial puncture. Chi-square analysis was used to determine group differences, with P < .05 considered significant.
RESULTS: Forty-seven subjects were studied during arterial puncture (sucrose, 24; no sucrose, 23). Neonates receiving sucrose solution had significantly less crying than the no sucrose group, both during and immediately after an arterial puncture (P = .006 and .022, respectively). No significant changes in other pain subscales, heart rate, or oxygen saturation were found during or after the arterial puncture (P > .05).
CONCLUSION: This study found a significant reduction in the crying subscale of the Neonatal Infant Pain subscale immediately after the introduction of an arterial needle in neonates receiving a 24% sucrose solution, compared with those who did not receive sucrose solution. While prior studies found a similar reduction in pain scores after heel and venipuncture needlesticks, this is the first study evaluating a high concentration of oral sucrose to blunt the pain associated with an arterial puncture.
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