Cochrane Summaries

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Venepuncture versus heel lance for blood sampling in term neonates

Shah VS, Ohlsson A
Published Online: 
18 January 2012

In most countries, a blood sample from newborn babies is needed for screening tests. A heel lance is the standard way of taking blood, but it is a painful procedure with no optimal method of pain relief known. This review of trials found evidence that venepuncture, when done by a trained practitioner, caused less pain than heel lance. The use of a sweet tasting solution given to the baby prior to the event reduced pain further. The evidence included outcome measures using pain scales, how long the baby cried and how the mother rated their baby's pain.