Vibrating Cold Device Reduces IV Insertion Pain

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 16 Jun 2017
A new study suggests that a vibrating device used with a cold pack (VCD) is equally effective as topical lidocaine in reducing pain and distress for children undergoing intravenous (IV) catheter insertion.

Researchers at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP, PA, USA) conducted a study at the CHOP emergency department, which included 251 children (four to 18 years of age); none were in severe trauma, but all required an IV. The researchers randomized the patients into two groups, one receiving topical lidocaine, and the other receiving the battery-powered, reusable Buzzy VCD. Main outcomes were self-reported pain measured with the Faces Pain Scale, anxiety measured with the Child's Rating of Anxiety scale, and observed pain with the Face, Legs, Activity, Crying, Consolability scale, as well as caregivers and nurses completed satisfaction surveys.

Image: The Buzzy device helps children overcome the pain of IV insertion (Photo courtesy of MMJ Labs).
Image: The Buzzy device helps children overcome the pain of IV insertion (Photo courtesy of MMJ Labs).

The results showed that the Faces Pain Scale scores for both groups were equivalent, as were median Face, Legs, Activity, Crying, Consolability scale scores. The time of completion for the designated IV procedure was significantly shorter for the VCD group compared with the topical lidocaine group. There were no significant differences between groups for self-reported state or trait anxiety, success of IV catheter insertion on first attempt, or satisfaction of caregivers or staff. The study was published ahead of print on January 24, 2017, in Pediatric Emergency Care.

“We anticipate that using this device would enable nurses to insert an IV with little pain for the child at least 30 minutes sooner than using topical lidocaine,” said lead author Debra Potts, RN, MSN, CPEN, nurse manager at the CHOP emergency department. “This is important because hospitalized children experience IV insertion as a very painful and stressful event, and they can have post-traumatic stress symptoms if their pain is not adequately controlled.”

For the study, the researchers used the MMJ Labs (Atlanta, GA, USA) Buzzy Bee device, which uses combined vibration and an ice pack to activate gate control theory, physiologically overwhelming the body’s pain nerves. Gate control invokes the concept that the final common pathway for sharp pain to the brain can be shut out by the nerves that transmit cold and vibration senses, just as running a burn under cold water stops the sharp pain.

Related Links:
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
MMJ Labs

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