Effect of Oral Sucrose on Pain Experienced during Echocardiography in Newborns

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Topic(s): Nutrition Health & Wellness Obesity Nutrition & Disease Management

Benefits of Oral Sucrose Administration Prior to Echocardiography in Newborns

Newborns are often subjected to various painful procedures such as echocardiography in the neonatal intensive care unit. Proper management of pain during these painful procedures is important to prevent multiple adverse effects. A double-blinded, parallel-group, randomised controlled trial published in the journal Indian Pediatrics investigated the effectiveness of oral sucrose in reducing pain/stress during echocardiography in newborns.

Newborn infants (gestational age between 32–42 weeks), with established enteral feeding, not on respiratory support and requiring echocardiography were enrolled in the study. Oral sucrose solution was administered using a dropper to newborns in the intervention group (52 infants), while no medication or placebo was given to newborns in the control group (52 infants). Newborns aged between 32–40 weeks received 1 mL of sucrose, while those aged >40 weeks received 2 mL of sucrose, 2 minutes prior to echocardiography. The premature infant pain profile (PIPP) scale was used to assess pain in newborns while performing echocardiography.

The baseline characteristics (mean gestational age, birth weight, feeding characteristics, etc.) for both the groups were similar. Infants receiving oral sucrose had a significantly lower PIPP score (5.2) compared to those in the control group (7.4). In the intervention group, only 10 newborns experienced mild-moderate pain and no infant experienced severe pain. In the control group, 30 newborns experienced pain. Of the 30 newborns, 24 experienced mild-moderate pain and 6 experienced severe pain during echocardiography. Episodes of hyperglycaemia, necrotising enterocolitis, or feed intolerance were not reported after administration of oral sucrose.

Echocardiography is often stressful and can cause moderate pain. The study results demonstrate that administration of oral sucrose 2 minutes prior to echocardiography is safe and effective in reducing pain experienced during echocardiography in newborns.

News source – Potana NT, Dongara AR, Nimbalkar SM, et al. Oral Sucrose for Pain in Neonates during Echocardiography: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Indian Pediatr. 2015; 52(6):493–7.