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Neonatal Netw. 2010 Sep-Oct;29(5):271-9.

NICU procedures are getting sweeter: development of a sucrose protocol for neonatal procedural pain.

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  • 1University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle, WA 98195-6153, USA.


Neonates in the neonatal intensive care nursery experience multiple, painful, tissue-damaging procedures daily. Pain among neonates is often underestimated and untreated, producing untoward consequences. A literature review established strong evidence supporting the use of sucrose as an analgesic for minor procedural pain among neonates. A review of unit practices and nurses' experiential evidence initiated the production of a standardized protocol in our unit at the University of Washington Medical Center NICU in Seattle.Nursing practices surrounding sucrose use differed widely in dose, timing, and patient application. We carefully evaluated evidence documenting the effectiveness as well as the safety of sucrose administration and wrote a protocol and practice standards for our primarily premature patient population. This article describes the development and execution of a standardized, nurse-implemented, sucrose protocol to reduce procedural pain.

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