Music for neonatal pain has not been exclusively studied in term neonates in a well-designed trial compared to the standard of care. This study aims to assess the effectiveness of music intervention as an adjuvant in relieving acute pain in term newborns undergoing minor painful procedures.
This randomized, controlled, blinded trial included any term neonate undergoing heel prick. Both control and intervention groups received oral sucrose 2 min before heel prick. Intervention group was exposed to Mozart Lullaby recorded music via bedside speakers. Pain was measured using Neonatal Infant Pain Scale (NIPS) at 1-min intervals. Investigators were blinded using noise-canceling headphones that played random music.
A total of 100 neonates were enrolled. Mean gestational age was 39.2 weeks, and mean duration of the procedure was 113 s. Music group was found to have significantly lower pain scores [OR = 0.42 (0.31, 0.56), p < 0.001]. Baseline NIPS scores were similar across groups and there was no interaction effect between groups and time. When NIPS were categorized as pain and no pain, there continued to be statistically significant lower NIPS scores in the music group (p < 0.001).
Recorded music, in addition to sucrose, is efficacious in reducing pain, encouraging its use in term neonates.
Recorded music effectively reduces pain induced by minor procedures in term neonates.
Clinical studies have shown that live and recorded music induces changes in vital signs and pain scores in the NICU’s predominantly preterm population.
Most of these studies were also conducted in the white ethnic population.
Our study objectively proves reduction in pain scores by using recorded music in a randomized, controlled, blinded study of predominantly non-white, term neonates.
Recorded music is effective in reducing acute pain in term neonates and can be widely used even in low-resource nurseries.
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The datasets generated during and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
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The authors would like to thank the families of the patients for their support and the nurses, nursery staff members, patient care technician Wendy Contreras, resident physician Dr Samantha Arevalo-Marcano, and pediatric program director Dr Magda Mendez from Lincoln Medical & Mental Health Center for helping with the data collection process. We also would like to thank Wendi Xiao from A.I. DuPont Children’s Hospital, DE, for her initial help with biostatistics.
Statistical analysis work was supported by an Institutional Development Award (IDeA) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under grant number U54‑GM104941 (PI: Hicks).
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Anbalagan, S., Velasquez, J.H., Staufert Gutierrez, D. et al. Music for pain relief of minor procedures in term neonates. Pediatr Res (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41390-023-02746-4