Tramo MJ. Lense MD, Van Ness C, Kagan J, Settle MD, Cronin JH. Effects of Music on Physiological and Behavioral Indices of Acute Pain and Stress in Premature Infants: Clinical Trial and Literature Review Music and Medicine. 2(2). 72-83.
Infants in intensive care units often undergo medically necessary heel-stick procedures. Because the risks of administering analgesics and anesthetics are often thought to outweigh the benefits, there remain no proven means of ameliorating the pain and stress these infants suffer, particularly during procedures. This study examined the controlled use of recorded vocal music to attenuate physiological and behavioral responses to heel stick in 13 premature infants via an experimental design. In both instances, infants exposed to music and infants in the control group, heart rate, and respiration rate increased during the heel-stick procedure (P’s 1⁄4 .02) and nearly all infants cried. During a 10-minute recovery following the heel stick, heart rate, and crying significantly decreased in infants exposed to music (P 1⁄4 .02) but not in unexposed infants. Controlled music stimulation appears to be a safe and effective way to ameliorate pain and stress in premature infants following heel sticks.