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Clin J Pain. 2001 Dec;17(4):350-8.

Relations between behavioral and cardiac autonomic reactivity to acute pain in preterm neonates.

Author information

1
Center for Community Health and Health Evaluation Research, British Columbia Research Institute For Children's and Women's Health, Vancouver, Canada. smorison@cw.bc.ca

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The purpose of this study was to assess relations and concordance between behavioral and physiologic reactivity to pain in preterm neonates at 32 weeks postconceptional age as a function of gestational age at birth.

SETTING:

Level III neonatal intensive care unit.

DESIGN/PATIENTS:

The study group comprised 136 preterm neonates (mean [range] birthweight, 1,020 g [445-1,500 g]: gestational age at birth, 28 weeks [23-32 weeks]) separated into three groups according to gestational age at birth as follows: 23 to 26 weeks (n = 48), 27 to 29 weeks (n = 52), and 30 to 32 weeks (n = 36).

OUTCOME MEASURES:

Reactivity to routine blood collection at 32 weeks postconceptional age was assessed using bedside-recorded behavioral and autonomic measures. Coders who were blinded to the study design scored behavioral responses (facial activity using the Neonatal Facial Coding System, sleep/waking state, and finger splay). Autonomic reactivity was assessed by change in heart rate and spectral analysis of heart rate variability (change in low-frequency and high-frequency power, and the ratio of low-frequency to high-frequency power during blood collection).

RESULTS:

Facial activity and state correlated moderately with change in heart rate across gestational age groups (r = 0.41-0.62). Facial activity and state did not correlate significantly with change in low-frequency and high-frequency power, or the ratio of low-frequency to high-frequency power (r = 0.00-0.31). Finger splay did not correlate with any autonomic recording (r = 0.03-0.41). Concordance between established biobehavioral measures of pain revealed individual differences. Although some neonates showed high behavioral but low physiologic reactivity, other neonates displayed the opposite reaction; however, the majority displayed concordant reactions.

CONCLUSIONS:

The study findings confirm the value of measuring domains independently, especially in neonates born at a very young gestational age.

PMID:
11783816
PMCID:
PMC1852479
DOI:
10.1097/00002508-200112000-00010
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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