Pain In Infants

Dr. Ira Shah
Consultant Pediatrician, B.J.Wadia Hospital for Children, Mumbai, India
First Created: 05/01/2001  Last Updated: 05/01/2001

Patient Education

Yes. much as we adults do, says a West German study at Heidelberg University. Only, they cannot assess pain and communicate it.

So far, the medical profession had maintained that infants do not have a fully developed nervous system and are therefore unable to sense much pain. Not surprisingly, a 1988 study conducted in the United States showed that only 6.7% of infants who were subjected to lumber or morrow punctures were given pain killers. The rest only got sedatives.

Animal experiments and observations of babies have recently revealed that the psychological mechanics of pain perception is fully operational immediately after birth. The Heidelberg scientists studied reflexes typically connected with the experience of pain before coming to this conclusion. They're advised to pediatricians: if surgery is performed even newborns, sufficient pain-suppression measures are required.


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