Trial of Music, Sucrose, and Combination Therapy for Pain Relief during Heel Prick Procedures in Neonates

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Abstract

Objective

To compare the effectiveness of music, oral sucrose, and combination therapy for pain relief in neonates undergoing a heel prick procedure.

Study design

This randomized, controlled, blinded crossover clinical trial included stable neonates >32 weeks of postmenstrual age. Each neonate crossed over to all 3 interventions in random order during consecutive heel pricks. A video camera on mute mode recorded facial expressions, starting 2 minutes before until 7 minutes after the heel prick. The videos were later analyzed using the Premature Infant Pain Profile—Revised (PIPP-R) scale once per minute by 2 independent assessors, blinded to the intervention. The PIPP-R scores were compared between treatment groups using Friedman test.

Results

For the 35 participants, the postmenstrual age was 35 weeks (SD, 2.3) with an average weight of 2210 g (SD, 710). The overall median PIPP-R scores following heel prick over 6 minutes were 4 (IQR 0-6), 3 (IQR 0-6), and 1 (IQR 0-3) for the music, sucrose, and combination therapy interventions, respectively. The PIPP-R scores were significantly lower at all time points after combination therapy compared with the groups given music or sucrose alone. There was no difference in PIPP-R scores between the music and sucrose groups.

Conclusions

In relatively stable and mature neonates, the combination of music therapy with sucrose provided better pain relief during heel prick than when sucrose or music was used alone. Recorded music in isolation had a similar effect to the current gold standard of oral sucrose.

Trial registration

www.anzctr.org.au ACTRN12615000271505.

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