Objective: Despite accumulating evidence that procedural pain experienced by preterm infants may have acute detrimental and even long-term effects on an infant's subsequent behavior and neurological outcome, neonates admitted to Neonatal Intensive Care Units still frequently experience acute and prolonged uncontrolled pain. Many invasive and surgical procedures are routinely performed at the bedside in the NICU without adequate pain management.
Aim: To develop evidence-based guidelines and recommendations for pain control and prevention in Italian i.e. heel lancing, venipuncture and percutaneous venous line positioning, tracheal intubation, mechanical ventilation, lumbar puncture, chest tube positioning, for certain surgical procedures performed at the NICU, e.g. central venous cutdown, surgical PDA ligation, and cryotherapy, laser therapy for ROP, and for postoperative pain management.
Conclusion: Adequate pain prevention and management should be an essential part of standard health care at the NICU, and recognizing and assessing sources of pain should be routine in the day-to-day practice of physicians and nurses taking care of the newborn. We hope these guidelines will contribute towards increasing the NICU caregiver's awareness and understanding of the importance of adequate pain control and prevention.