Systematic Reviews
Copyright ©The Author(s) 2021. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Clin Cases. Jul 26, 2021; 9(21): 5921-5931
Published online Jul 26, 2021. doi: 10.12998/wjcc.v9.i21.5921
Pain assessment and management in the newborn: A systematized review
Maria Teresa Garcia-Rodriguez, Sergio Bujan-Bravo, Rocio Seijo-Bestilleiro, Cristina Gonzalez-Martin
Maria Teresa Garcia-Rodriguez, Rocio Seijo-Bestilleiro, Cristina Gonzalez-Martin, Research in Nursing and Health Care, Institute of Biomedical Research of A Coruña (INIBIC), Complexo Hospitalario Universitario de A Coruña (CHUAC), SERGAS, As Xubias 84, 15006 A Coruña Universidade da Coruña (UDC), A Coruña 15006, Spain
Sergio Bujan-Bravo, Health Sciences, Complexo Hospitalario Universitario de A Coruña, A Coruña 15006, Spain
Author contributions: Garcia-Rodriguez MT and Martin CG contributed equally to this work; Bravo SB performed the research; Garcia-Rodriguez MT, Martin CG, and Bestilleiro RS wrote the manuscript; All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.
Conflict-of-interest statement: The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
PRISMA 2009 Checklist statement: The authors have read the PRISMA 2009 Checklist, and the manuscript was prepared and revised according to the PRISMA 2009 Checklist.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article that was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Corresponding author: Cristina Gonzalez-Martin, PhD, Full Professor, Research in Nursing and Health Care, Institute of Biomedical Research of A Coruña (INIBIC), Complexo Hospitalario Universitario de A Coruña (CHUAC), SERGAS, As Xubias 84, 15006 A Coruña Universidade da Coruña (UDC), A Coruña 15006, Spain.
Received: February 15, 2021
Peer-review started: February 15, 2021
First decision: April 25, 2021
Revised: May 5, 2021
Accepted: June 1, 2021
Article in press: June 1, 2021
Published online: July 26, 2021
Research background

Painful experiences in newborns can cause both short- and long-term side effects. Newborns admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) are frequently subjected to procedures that will cause pain, which must be assessed and treated appropriately for its relief and well-being of the newborn.

Research motivation

To contribute to the knowledge of newborn pain and its assessment and management.

Research objectives

To define and assess the status of neonatal pain and pain management in newborns admitted to the NICU and to determine the knowledge of healthcare professionals about neonatal pain.

Research methods

A search was carried out in different databases such as PubMed, Dialnet Plus, Cochrane Library Plus, Cuiden, and IBECS.

Research results

A total of 135 articles were found, and 18 articles were finally reviewed. Among the most painful and stressful procedures for NICU newborns were punctures. The methods used to assess pain were the observation of physical and behavioral alterations and validated scales, the most widely used being the Neonatal Infant Pain Scale. With regard to the knowledge of professionals, it has been observed that there is a lack of training on this subject, which is the making and carrying out of the correct assessment and management of pain.

Research conclusions

Neonates admitted to the NICU undergo a number of painful procedures. It is essential that professionals have the appropriate knowledge to perform correct assessment and management of pain. This would require the development of protocols and multidisciplinary pain teams.

Research perspectives

This document not only establishes the need for training of healthcare professionals to assess correctly and manage pain in newborns, based on evidence and not only on clinical practice or personal experience, but also the need for pain guidelines and pain teams to carry out quality care.