The potential of sucrose to reduce the pain response in a group of healthy premature infants was investigated. Fifteen infants of 32-34 weeks postmenstrual age were tested in a blind crossover manner on two separate occasions no more than two days apart. Either 1 ml of 25% sucrose solution or sterile water was syringed into the baby's mouth 2 minutes before routine heel lancing. Response to the painful stimuli was measured by duration of cry and by facial expression (pain score). There was a significant reduction in the duration of first cry, the percentage of time spent crying in the 5 minutes after heel prick, and the pain score in the sucrose treated group. It is concluded that sucrose has analgesic effects in healthy premature infants.
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