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Neonatal pain response to heel stick vs venepuncture for routine blood sampling
  1. Vibhuti S Shah,
  2. Anna Taddio,
  3. Sian Bennett,
  4. Brian D Speidel
  1. Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Southmead Hospital, Bristol
  1. Dr Vibhuti S Shah, Shared Program in Neonatology, University of Toronto, The Hospital for Sick Children, 555 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M5G 1X8, Canada.


Neonatal pain response and adverse effects and maternal anxiety were assessed in 27 infants who were randomly allocated to venepuncture or heel stick. Pain was assessed by nurses using the Neonatal Infant Pain Scale (NIPS) and a three point scale for the mothers. NIPS scores were higher in the heel stick group compared with the venepuncture group. Maternal anxiety was higher before the procedure while perception of an infant’s pain was lower in the venepuncture group compared with the heel stick group. Venepuncture is less painful than heel stick in newborn infants undergoing routine blood sampling.

  • pain response
  • heel stick
  • venepuncture
  • blood sampling

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