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Efficacy of facilitated tucking combined with non-nutritive sucking on very preterm infants’ pain during the heel-stick procedure: A randomized controlled trial

Journal title
International journal of nursing studies
Publication year
Perroteau, A.; Nanquette, M. C.; Rousseau, A.; Renolleau, S.; Berard, L.; Mitanchez, D.; Leblanc, J.

BACKGROUND: Reducing acute pain in premature infants during neonatal care improves their neurophysiological development. The use of pharmacological and non-pharmacological analgesia, such as sucrose, is limited per day, particularly for very preterm infants. Thus, the usual practice of non-nutritive sucking is often used alone. Facilitated tucking could be an additional strategy to non-nutritive sucking for reducing pain. To the best of our knowledge, no randomized trial has compared the combination of facilitated tucking and non-nutritive sucking to non-nutritive sucking alone. OBJECTIVES: To compare the efficacy of facilitated tucking in combination with non-nutritive sucking (intervention group) to non-nutritive sucking alone (control group) in reducing pain during the heel-stick procedure in very preterm infants. DESIGN: Prospective, randomized controlled trial. SETTINGS: Level III and II neonatal care units, including the neurosensory care management program. METHODS: Very preterm infants (gestational age between 28 and 32 weeks) were randomly assigned by a computer programme to the intervention or control group during a heel-stick procedure within the first 48h of life. In both groups, infants were placed in an asymmetric position on a cushion; noise and light were limited following routine care. A heel-stick was performed first in the care sequence. In the intervention group, facilitated tucking was performed by a nurse or nursing assistant. The procedure was video recorded from 15s (T-15s) before the procedure until three minutes (T+3min) after the end of the procedure. Pain was blindly assessed by two independent specialist nurses. The primary outcome was the pain score evaluated 15s before the procedure and 30s immediately after by the premature infant pain profile (PIPP) scale. The secondary outcome was the pain score evaluated between T-15s and T+3min by the DAN scale (a French acronym for the acute pain of a newborn). RESULTS: Sixty infants were included (30 in each group). The PIPP pain scores did not differ between the intervention group (median: 8.0; interquartile range (IQR): 6.0-12.0) and the control group (median: 9.5; IQR: 7.0-13.0, p=0.32). Pain assessed by the DAN scale at T+3min was lower in the intervention group than in the control group (median: 0.3; IQR: 0.0-1.0 and 2.0; IQR: 0.5-3.0, respectively, p=0.001). CONCLUSIONS: The combined use of facilitated tucking and non-nutritive sucking did not significantly alleviate pain during the heel-stick procedure. However, the addition of facilitated tucking facilitated faster pain recovery following the heel-stick procedure.

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