Perception of venipuncture pain in children suffering from chronic diseases

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“Our study suggests that children with chronic diseases have a lower pain threshold than children of the same sex and age who experience venipuncture for the first time” Bisogni et al (2014).

Reference:

Bisogni, S., Dini, C., Olivini, N., Ciofi, D., Giusti, F., Caprilli, S., Gonzalez Lopez, J.R. and Festini, F. (2014) Perception of venipuncture pain in children suffering from chronic diseases. BMC Research Notes. 7, p.735.

Abstract:

BACKGROUND: Venipuncture pain in children results from a variety of co-factors which increase the intensity of the nociceptive stimulus. Among them, anticipatory anxiety plays an important role. Children with chronic diseases undergo invasive procedures and venipuncture more often than other children. Some healthcare professionals still believe that children who are repeatedly exposed to painful procedures, such as children with chronic diseases, gradually increase their pain tolerance and that, as a result, they have a higher pain threshold than children with no chronic diseases. The purpose of this study was to assess whether a difference exists in the perception of venipuncture pain between children with chronic diseases and children with no previous health problems nor experience of venipuncture.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study was carried out using the Wong and numeric pain scales and the Observational Scale of Behavioral Distress (OSBD) for the assessment of behavioral distress. A group of children with chronic diseases and a group of children with no previous health problems nor experience of venipuncture, aged 4 to 12 years, both boys and girls, were observed during a standardized venipuncture procedure.

RESULTS: The study included 230 children in total: 82 of them suffered from chronic diseases and had already experienced venipuncture at least once, while the remaining 148 children had no previous experience of venipuncture. The children with chronic diseases reported more pain (median pain score of 8 on the Wong or numeric scales,) and showed more signs of behavioral distress (median score of 27 on the OSBD) than non-chronic children (median pain score of 2 on the Wong/numeric scales, p = 0.00001; median OSBD score 5, p = 0.00001).

CONCLUSIONS: Our study suggests that children with chronic diseases have a lower pain threshold than children of the same sex and age who experience venipuncture for the first time.

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