It is estimated that a human being can feel pain starting from the 24th week of intrauterine life; there is a correlation between the age of the newborn baby and their reaction to pain.
The younger the infant, the more significant the reactions in response to a painful stimulus. Similarly with repetition of painful procedures, the intensity of the response will be proportional to the number of stimulations.
In general, fear, anxiety or depression can increase perception of pain in adults; similarly these factors influence the neonate, who cannot understand what is happening.
The EPIPPAIN study* showed that painful procedures are particularly common in young hospitalized children. Carbajal, Rousset, Danan, et al. reported that results from 430 infants showed that an average of 16 invasive procedures per day were performed on very sick neonates, of which over 60% were determined as painful. The study also showed that the vast majority of these procedures are typically carried out without any specific analgesia.
The NIPE technology provides an objective way to assess discomfort for newborn infants, allowing healthcare professionals to deliver individualized care.*
Carbajal, Rousset, Danan, Epidemiology and treatment of painful procedures in neonates in intensive care units, JAMA 2008