A Scottish study of heel-prick blood sampling in newborn babies



Shepherd A, Glenesk A, Niven C & Mackenzie J (2006) A Scottish study of heel-prick blood sampling in newborn babies. Midwifery, 22 (2), pp. 158-168.

Summary Objective to conduct a randomised-controlled trial to investigate the effectiveness of two heel-prick devices (Tenderfoot and Genie Lancet) used in the newborn-baby screening test. Design a randomised-controlled trial. Participants and setting the homes of 340 healthy term newborn babies discharged from the maternity unit of Stirling Royal Infirmary, Scotland. Data were collected between April and November 2003. Interventions babies were randomly allocated to be tested with either the Tenderfoot or Genie Lancet heel-prick device. Measurements primary study outcomes include (1) quality of the blood sample; (2) time taken to collect the sample; (3) number of heel pricks required to take the sample; (4) whether squeezing of heel was required; (5) pain expressed by the baby; and (6) presence of bruising. A potential intervening variable was the experience of the midwife. Findings on all outcomes, the Tenderfoot device was more effective than the Genie Lancet. Experienced midwives were more efficient in sample collection. Key Conclusions this study shows that the Tenderfoot device saves significant time for midwifery staff, improves baby care and reduces the need for more than one heel prick at each test, making it superior to the Genie Lancet device.

neonatal screening; blood sampling; midwifery care; Neonatal hematology; Pain physiopathology

Midwifery: Volume 22, Issue 2

Publication date30/06/2006
Publication date online28/12/2005

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Professor Ashley Shepherd

Professor Ashley Shepherd

Professor, Health Sciences Stirling