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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 155-161

Comparison of pain response to vein puncture versus heel lance among preterm infants undergoing blood sampling

Department of Pediatric Nursing, Faculty of Nursing, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Sanaa G.Y Mohamed
Pediatric Nursing Department, Faculty of Nursing, Cairo University, Cairo
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ENJ.ENJ_6_20

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Background Pain in neonates is largely underestimated and neglected. Accurate pain assessment is the first step toward effective pain management. Skin-breaking procedures such as heel lances, vein punctures, and arterial punctures are the most frequently performed painful procedures in neonatal ICUs. Few studies have been done to compare preterm infants’ pain response to heel lance vs venipuncture. Aim The aim was to compare pain response to venipuncture vs heel lance among preterm infants undergoing blood sampling. Materials and methods A comparative descriptive research design was used on a convenient sample of 60 preterm infants less than 37 weeks of gestation who were undergoing blood sampling for complete blood count, blood chemistry, or glucose estimation. Neonatal assessment sheet, blood sampling assessment sheet, and premature infant pain profile scale were used to collect data from two neonatal ICUs of both Cairo University Children Hospital (El Monira) and El Manial University Hospital (Kaser El Aini). After a written consent from parents, the same preterm infant pain response was continuously monitored 30 s before procedure and up to 6 min during the procedure over 2 days (one for venipuncture and one for heel lance). Results The total mean premature infant pain profile score significantly increased during venipuncture than heel lance. Behavioral state was significantly more unstable during vein puncture than heel lance. Venipuncture procedure significantly increased heart rate and decreased oxygen saturation more than heel lance. Conclusion Preterm infants perceive pain as demonstrated by premature infant pain profile scale and vein puncture is the more painful procedure than heel lancing for blood sampling in preterm infants. Recommendations Premature infant pain profile scale should be included in the routine assessment for preterm infants.

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