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Klin Padiatr. 2004 Jan-Feb;216(1):16-20.

[Measures for the assessment of pain in neonates as well as a comparison between the Bernese Pain Scale for Neonates (BPSN) with the Premature Infant Pain Profile (PIPP)].

[Article in German]

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Universit├Ąts-Kinderklinik, Zurich, Switzerland.



Neonate's expression of pain lacks the ability to report pain. Several pain measures exist to assess acute pain in term and preterm neonates. The aim of the present study is to compare them with respect to their validity and reliability.


Review of the literature and a description of the measures most often cited. Additionally, the validity of the Bernese Pain Scale for Neonates (BPSN) was assessed in a department of neonatology of a university hospital.


Assessments of pain (n = 48) in term and preterm neonates with and without respiratory support.


Existing pain measures are using behavioural indicators of pain (eg, facial expression, body posture, movements, and vigilance) as well as physiological indicators of pain (eg, changes in heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation). The used measures and their feasibility in everyday practice, the study population and the method of validation were presented. The BPSN differentiates pain from nonpain (F = 41.27, p < 0.0001) and the interrater- as well as the intrarater-reliability was high (r = 0.87 - 0.98 and r = 0.98 - 0.99, respectively).


Assessment of acute pain in neonates should take into account the way of validation that has been performed especially with respect to the study population. The BSN is a pain measure with good validity and reliability for the assessment of pain in term and preterm neonates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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