Aim: Increases in heart rate have been widely utilized as pain responses in different studies. In a previous study, we found an increase in heart rate in newborns when they received glucose as pain relief. Other research groups have shown a smaller increase in heart rate on administration of sweet solutions. We therefore investigated the question as to whether or not oral glucose itself can cause an increased heart rate in healthy infants.
Method: This was a randomized, controlled, double-blind study comprising 70 healthy newborns. They were randomly allocated to receive 1 ml 30% glucose or 1 ml placebo solution (sterile water) orally without undergoing any painful procedure. The heart rate was recorded during and at different times after this administration.
Results: The heart rate was significantly higher in the glucose than in the placebo group (p=0.020). The highest heart rate was noted during treatment, and the heart rate subsequently decreased in both groups (p = 0.002).
Conclusion: Oral glucose causes an increase in heart rate in healthy newborns not undergoing any painful intervention.
2005. Vol. 94, no 3, 324-328 p.