Neurology Central

Parental cardiac response in the context of pediatric acute pain: current knowledge and future directions

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Pain is a complex experience that involves sensory and emotional components. Pain experience and expression are influenced by emotions, with negative emotional states often associated with poor pain outcomes, such as higher levels of reported pain intensity and lower levels of pain tolerance [1]. Pain from needle procedures, such as from immunizations and venipunctures, is common throughout childhood. Children typically report fear of, anxiety about and display distress during these required painful medical procedures [2,3]. [Note: Fear can be defined as a proximal response to perceived threat, anxiety is a future-oriented apprehension; distress is a broad term for unpleasant affect which is commonly applied to capture behaviors observed during medical procedures that are commonly thought to represent a combination of pain and fear [2]. When summarizing previous research, the terms used by the authors are included.] Notably, such negative medical experiences may result in needle fear and anxious avoidance of preventive and medically required healthcare in adulthood [1–3]. In fact, 7–8% of parents and children report needle fear as the primary reason for immunization noncompliance [3]. It follows that identifying the factors that influence children’s experience of procedural pain and fear is necessary to reduce and prevent these adverse consequences.
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