Acupuncture in preterm babies during minor painful procedures

J Tradit Chin Med. 2011 Dec;31(4):308-10. doi: 10.1016/s0254-6272(12)60009-0.


Objective: To evaluate analgesic effects of acupuncture in preterm neonates during minor painful procedures.

Methods: Ten preterm neonates requiring heel prick for blood gas analysis were enrolled in the study, which had a crossover design. Oxygen saturation, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, respiratory rate, heart rate, and crying duration were recorded before and after heel prick. Babies were given expressed breast milk before each procedure. Patients were randomly assigned to receive acupuncture or not, and the groups were crossed over on the following day, so that patients who had received acupuncture received only breast milk, and the previous breast milk only group received both acupuncture and breast milk. The neonatal infant pain scale (NIPS) was used for pain evaluation.

Results: Crying duration and NIPS pain scores during heel prick were lower in the neonates who had received acupuncture.

Conclusion: Acupuncture is an effective method for the treatment of pain in neonates.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Analgesia*
  • Acupuncture Therapy
  • Blood Pressure
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / physiopathology
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / therapy*
  • Male
  • Pain Measurement*