Background and aims Recent studies have shown that newborns remember and perceive the pain, and they have been shown to feel pain from intrauterine life. To avoid adverse effects of pharmacologic analgesic agents, non pharmacologic strategies to minimise neonatal procedural pain have been proposed. Acupressure is a complementary treatment that uses fingers and applies pressure to stimulate acupoints of the human body. We studied the analgesic effect of acupressure in preterm infants during heel prick blood draw.
Methods This study was carried out in a tertiary care neonatal unit at the Baskent University in Turkey. 32 infants born before the age of 37 weeks, and who did not have sepsis, any metabolic or genetic disease, and did not receive any medication for sedation or analgesia were included. The experimental group was given both routine care and acupressure. The control group only underwent routine care. Kunlun point (EX-HN3) and Taixi point (K3) was kneaded for 3 min before the procedure. All babies were scored according to the Premature Infant Pain Profile (PIPP) by a second researcher.
Results In both groups of infants enrolled in the study; gestational age, birth weight, postnatal day, the actual weights were similar (p > 0.05). The procedure time and crying time in the acupressure group was significantly lower than other group (p = 0.00). PIPP scores were not found different (p = 0,046).
Conclusions In this study, applying acupressure did not change the PIPP score in preterm infants. More research should be done in different acupressure points for analgesic effect for preterm infants.