Prevention of Pain During Screening for Retinopathy of Prematurity: A Randomized Control Trial Comparing Breast Milk, 10% Dextrose and Sterile Water

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Indian Journal of Pediatrics


Objectives: To compare the efficacy of orally administered 10% dextrose, breast milk and sterile water on pain prevention during screening examination for Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) in preterm neonates as measured by Premature infant pain profile (PIPP). Methods: A three-limbed double-blinded randomized control trial was conducted in a Level 3 neonatal intensive care unit. Forty five preterm neonates undergoing ROP screening were included. Eligible babies were randomly assigned to one of the three groups that orally received either expressed breast milk (n = 14), 10% dextrose solution (n = 14) or sterile water (n = 17), one minute before eye examination. The outcome measure was PIPP score. Results: All 3 groups were similar in baseline characteristics. The mean PIPP scores were comparable (p = 0.18) in the three groups (11.8 ± 2.8 vs. 9.8 ± 3.3 vs. 10.2 ± 2.9). The behavioral and physiological variables were also similar across all three groups. Conclusions: Expressed breast milk, 10% dextrose or sterile water administered orally before ROP screening in preterm neonates have similar analgesic effects and do not significantly alleviate pain during the procedure.

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