"Although there was some decrease in pain from the spray, there were some patients who had minimal pain with the placebo spray, suggesting just spraying anything on there might decrease pain," Greenberg said.
More important, the average age of the patients was probably a big factor in the findings, Greenberg said.
"If there were younger patients, I doubt the results would be the same. Nine-year-olds are probably the easiest patients' veins to cannulate. They are also fairly cooperative. If you had a mean age more like 3 to 4 years, with a significant amount of younger patients, you would probably see very little difference between the actual spray and placebo," Greenberg said.
In addition, the discomfort with the application of the coolant is not reported and would likely be a significant negative issue in younger children, Greenberg said.
"I think analgesia for IV starts in both children and adults is long overdue. I just don't think this study conclusively showed that using vapocoolants accomplishes this," Greenberg said.
For more on hospital treatments and children, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics.
SOURCES: William Splinter, M.D., staff anesthesiologist, medical director, palliative care, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Ottawa, Canada; Mark Greenberg, M.D., associate clinical professor, pediatrics and anesthesiology, and director, pediatric anesthesia, University of California, San Diego; July 1, 2008, Canadian Medical Association Journal
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