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Sensorial saturation and neonatal pain: a review

Journal title
The journal of maternal-fetal & neonatal medicine : the official journal of the European Association of Perinatal Medicine, the Federation of Asia and Oceania Perinatal Societies, the International Society of Perinatal Obstetricians
Publication year
Locatelli, C.; Bellieni, C. V.

AIM: Sensorial saturation (SS) is an analgesic approach to babies’ pain that includes three types of stimulations: oral sugar, massage and caregivers’ voice. The aim of this review is to assess its efficacy. METHODS: We performed an analysis of scientific literature from 2001 to 2017, retrieving those clinical trials where SS had been compared with other analgesic treatments during procedural pain in babies. RESULTS: We retrieved 14 studies. Pain sources were heel-prick in nine, eye examination and intramuscular shots in two each, and endotracheal aspiration in one. SS was the most effective treatment in all cases, except in endotracheal suctioning. No drawbacks were reported in any study using SS. CONCLUSION: SS is a safe and effective approach to neonatal pain due to heel-prick, more effective than oral sucrose or glucose in both term and preterm babies; it seems also effective in other types of acute procedural pain like eye examination or intramuscular injections, but more studies are needed to confirm these preliminary data. More studies are also needed to test SS efficacy for other procedures, and for older infants.

Research abstracts