Efficacy of parental application of eutectic mixture of local anesthetics for intravenous insertion

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22 Scopus citations


Objective. To demonstrate that parent application of eutectic mixture of local anesthetics (EMLA) results in equal reduction of the pain of intravenous (IV) placement compared with clinician application of EMLA, and to assess potential difficulties with parental application. Study Design. A 2 x 2 randomized block design was used, with 41 children divided into two age groups (5-12 years vs 13-18 years) and randomized to one of two experimental groups (parent-applied EMLA vs clinicianapplied EMLA). Methods. All children were scheduled to have outpatient gastrointestinal endoscopies with IV sedation. EMLA was placed at least 60 minutes before IV insertion either by tue parent or a clinician, depending on the experimental group assignment. Outcome measures were child pain ratings and observed behavioral distress ratings. Parents and children were interviewed to determine parent and child anxiety levels in anticipation of the IV insertion, previous needle stick experience, and previous difficulty coping. Feasibility outcomes included technical difficulty with application of EMLA and appearance of the EMLA cream and occlusive covering. Results. Pain ratings and behavioral distress ratings were generally in the low to moderate range for all groups and were consistent with previous empiric reports of EMLA outcome. There were no significant differences in pain or distress ratings for either the age or the experimental groups. Parent ratings of their child's previous difficulty coping was related to the level of behavioral distress exhibited before (r = .50), during (r = .32) and after (r -.44) the IV insertion. In addition, children's anxiety ratings about IV insertion seemed to differ among groups (although not statistically significant for post hoc comparisons), with the most anxiety reported by the younger children when clinicians applied the EMLA and by older children when parents applied the EMLA. Conclusion. Parent application of EMLA appears to be as effective as clinician application in reducing children's pain and distress associated with IV insertion. Permitting parents to apply the EMLA at home can allow children who are having procedures on an outpatient basis to benefit from topical anesthesia without having to arrive early to the clinic or hospital. Additionally, application by parents may result in less anticipatory anxiety for younger children. pain, children, topical anesthetic, venipuncture, EMLA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1275-1276
Number of pages2
Issue number6 I
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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