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Infant and neonatal pain: anaesthetists' perceptions and prescribing patterns

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.313.7060.787 (Published 28 September 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:787
  1. Jonathan de Lima, registrar in paediatric anaesthesiaa,
  2. Adrian R Lloyd-Thomas, consultant in paediatric anaesthesia and pain managementa,
  3. Richard F Howard, consultant in paediatric anaesthesia and acute pain managementa,
  4. Edward Sumner, consultant in paediatric anaesthesiaa,
  5. Teresa M Quinn, research assistanta
  1. a Department of Anaesthesia, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust, London WC1N 3JH
  1. Correspondence to: Dr Lloyd-Thomas.
  • Accepted 15 July 1996

Until 10 years ago neonates and infants were assumed to be incapable of perceiving pain and seldom given analgesics for operations.1 Advances in neonatal analgesic pharmacology and neurobiology, including biochemical stress response studies, have prompted reconsideration of this approach.2

We studied the changes in attitude and practice among members of the Association of Paediatric Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland since an original survey in 1988.3

Methods and results

A questionnaire designed to allow comparison with the 1988 survey3 was sent to the 151 members of the association from the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. Question 1 asked, “Do you think the following are able to perceive pain?” (a) newborn infants less than 1 week of age, (b) neonates aged 1 week to 1 month, (c) infants aged 1-3 months, (d) infants aged 3-12 months, and (e) …

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