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Pediatr Res. 2002 Apr;51(4):460-3.

Effect of multisensory stimulation on analgesia in term neonates: a randomized controlled trial.

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Department of Pediatrics, Obstetrics, and Reproductive Medicine, University of Siena, Italy.


Many attempts have been made to obtain safe and effective analgesia in newborns. Oral glucose-water has been found to have analgesic properties in neonates. We investigated whether other sensory stimulation added to oral glucose provided more effective analgesia than oral glucose alone. In a randomized prospective double-blind trial, we studied 120 term newborns during heel prick. The babies were divided randomly into six groups of 20, and each group was treated with a different procedure during heel prick: A) control; B) 1 mL 33% oral glucose given 2 min before the heel prick; C) sucking; D) 1 mL 33% oral glucose plus sucking; E) multisensory stimulation including 1 mL 33% oral glucose (sensorial saturation); F) multisensory stimulation without oral glucose. Sensorial saturation consisted in massage, voice, eye contact, and perfume smelling during heel prick. Each heel prick was filmed and assigned a point score according to the Douleur Aiguë du Nouveau-né (DAN) neonatal acute pain scale. Camera recording began 30 s before the heel prick, so it was impossible for the scorers to distinguish procedure A (control) from B (glucose given 2 min before), C (sucking water) from D (sucking glucose), and E (multisensory stimulation and glucose) from F (multisensory stimulation and water) from the video. Procedure E (multisensory stimulation and glucose) was found to be the most effective procedure, and the analgesia was even more effective than that produced by procedure D (sucking glucose). We conclude that sensorial saturation is an effective analgesic technique that potentiates the analgesic effect of oral sugar. It can be used for minor painful procedures on newborns.

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