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Pain. 1993 Feb;52(2):209-16.

TENS for children's procedural pain.

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  • 1University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.


A 3 x 6 factorial design with a double blind and placebo control was employed to investigate the effect of TENS treatment on pain produced by venipuncture. The three treatment groups consisted of TENS, placebo-TENS and control. Subjects were blocked into six 2-year age groups (ages: 5-17 years). During the period of the study, 896 children attending the outpatient laboratory of a general hospital were screened and 514 children completed the study. The data which were collected before venipuncture included expected pain and state anxiety. Following venipuncture, pain intensity was measured with a vertical visual analogue scale (VAS) and pain affect was assessed with McGrath's faces scale. Significant main effects for treatment and age groups were obtained. Pain intensity and affect were lowest for the TENS group and highest for the control group. The pain scores were greatest for lower age groups and lowest for higher age groups. The results of this study support the use of TENS for children's pain and the need for interventions for children's procedural pain.

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