Videogame playing as distraction technique in course of venipuncture

M. Minute, L. Badina, G. Cont, M. Montico, L. Ronfani, E. Barbi, A. Ventura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Needle-related procedures (venipuncture, intravenous cannulation) are the most common source of pain and distress for children. Reducing needle related pain and anxiety could be important in order to prevent further distress, especially for children needing multiple hospital admissions. The aim of the present open randomized controlled trial was to investigate the efficacy of adding an active distraction strategy (videogame) to EMLA premedication in needle-related pain in children.

METHODS: One-hundred and nine children (4 -10 years of age) were prospectively recruited to enter in the study. Ninety-seven were randomized in two groups: CC group (conventional care: EMLA only) as control group and AD group (active distraction: EMLA plus videogame) as intervention group. Outcome measures were: self-reported pain by mean of FPS-R scale (main study outcome), observer-reported pain by FLACC scale, number of attempts for successful procedure.

RESULTS: In both groups FPS-R median rate was 0 (interquartile range: 0-2), with significant pain (FPS-R > 4) reported by 9% of subjects. FLACC median rate was 1 in both groups (interquartile range 0-3 in CC group; 0-2 in AD group). The percentage of children with major pain (FLACC > 4) was 18% in CC group and 9% in AD group (p = 0.2). The median of necessary attempts to succeed in the procedures was 1 (interquartile range 1-2) in both groups..

CONCLUSION: Active distraction doesn't improve EMLA analgesia for iv cannulation and venipuncture. Even though, it resulted in an easily applicable strategy appreciated by children. This technique could be usefully investigated in other painful procedures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-83
Number of pages7
JournalPediatria Medica e Chirurgica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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