Background Assessment of pain is a challenge in neonatal setting. Visual, behavioural and physiological pain scales are not always reliable in premature infants. Few studies with limited sample size have been published on the reliability and efficacy of Skin Conductance Algesimeter (SCA) in monitoring pain in infants and children.
Aim To identify the clinical usefulness of SCA as a reliable and valid measure of pain intensity and stress response in preterm infants.
Methods Parents of all preterm infants admitted to the neonatal unit were invited to participate in the study. The usefulness of SCA was compared with the simultaneous measurement of ‘Premature Infant Pain Profile’ (PIPP) and ‘Face, Legs, Activity, Cry and Consolability (FLACC) scores during invasive and/or painful procedures.
Results 46 measurements were recorded from 31 patients. The gestational age at birth ranged from 27+5 from 35+1. Mean PIPP scores Pre: 3.063±1.272, Pro: 9.175±3.761, Post 4.275±1.506. Two-tailed Paired t-test Pre - Pro, t=10.82, P<0.001; Pre - Post, t=4.19, P<0.001. Mean FLACC scores Pre: 0.713±1.198, Pro: 5.925±2.99, Post: 0.8625±1.0919. Two-tailed Paired t-test Pre - Pro, t=9.51, P<0.001; Pre - Post, t=0.67, P=0.507. Some correlations between SCA results and PIPP/FLACC did give statistically significant correlation coefficients.
Conclusions PIPP and FLACC scores were statistically significantly increased during the procedures. Further research is needed to ascertain the usefulness of SCA in preterm infants.