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Acta Paediatr. 2008 Jan;97(1):27-30. Epub 2007 Dec 3.

Skin conductance compared to a combined behavioural and physiological pain measure in newborn infants.

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Department of Clinical Research and Department of Paediatrics, Orebro University Hospital, Orebro, Sweden.



To assess the ability of galvanic skin response (GSR) to differentiate between tactile and painful stimulation in newborn infants, and to compare this with the ability of the premature infant pain profile (PIPP).


Thirty-two healthy full-term infants undergoing routine blood sampling were recruited. In a randomized order they were subjected to tactile and painful stimulation. The three GSR variables conductance baseline level, number of waves per second and mean amplitude of the waves were recorded together with the behavioural and physiological variables of PIPP.


The GSR variables number of waves and amplitude of the waves increased more during painful stimulation than during tactile stimulation, as did also the PIPP score. Receiver operating characteristic curves analysis revealed no significant differences between the studied methods.


GSR can differentiate painful from tactile stimulation, but more research is needed to achieve a clinically useful application.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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