Effect of application of ice pack on reducing pain during the arterial puncture

Nahla Shaaban Khalil*

Background: Arterial puncture procedure is frequently performed by critical care nurses without pain management. The pain associated with arterial puncture can cause anxiety and discomfort, the evidence regarding efficiency of nonpharmacologic pain management techniques including cold application is limited and needs further researches.

Objective: To investigate the effect of the local application of ice pack before procedure on reducing pain experienced by patients during the arterial puncture

Materials and Methods: Quasi experimental study was undertaken among patients admitted to critical care units affiliated to Cairo University Hospital in Egypt. One hundred patients were randomly assigned to two groups. The study group (n=50) received local application of ice pack before radial arterial puncture, whereas the control group (n=50) received no intervention before radial arterial puncture. Pain immediately after the arterial puncture was scored on a visual analog scale (VAS) from 0 to 10 for both groups.

Results: The immediate mean pain score after the arterial puncture were 7.36+1.34 and 7.88+0.79 for the study and control group, respectively (p<0.05). There was significant statistical difference between them (t=2.36).The mean of heart rate during the procedure were 78+11.24 b/min for the study group and 86+6.37 b/min for the control group. There was significant statistical difference between them (t=1.82, p<0.05)

Conclusion: The research results showed that cold pack could be effective for relieving pain during arterial puncture. However, further researches are needed in different critical care settings and emergency units in different geographical areas to ensure generalizability of results.