Background and aims Screening of eyes is necessary in infants at risk of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). Although local anaesthetic drops are administered before eye examination, most infants are highly scored on validated pain scores such as the Premature Infant Pain Profile (PIPP) during examination. We aimed to determine the efficacy of oral sucrose combined with non-nutritive sucking (NNS) for reducing pain during eye examination.
Methods This was a randomised, controlled study of infants for ROP screening. All infants enrolled in the study met the criteria for ROP screening on the basis of birth weight and/ or gestational age. Only the first screening examination for each baby was considered. Premature babies, were randomised to one of three interventions before their screening examination: group 1 (n = 27) received 24% sucrose oral, group 2 (n = 27) received 24% sucrose with pacifier, group 3 (n = 27) received sterile water with pacifier.Pain responses were scored by using the PIPP.
Results A total of 81 infants (42 males and 39 females) were enrolled in the study. The mean birth weight was 1280 ± 316 g, gestational age was 28.7 ± 2.1 weeks and corrected gestational age at examination was 34.2 ± 2.9 weeks. The mean PIPP scores in group 1, 2, and 3 were 16.7, 11.4 and 15.1, respectively. Sucrose with pacifier (group 2) had a significantly lower mean PIPP score than group 1 and 3 (p 0.014; 0.021, respectively).
Conclusions Sucrose combined with NNS and NNS itself reduce pain scores during screening examinations for ROP.