Pain Research and Management

Pain Research and Management / 2015 / Article

Original Article | Open Access

Volume 20 |Article ID 419412 | 5 pages | https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/419412

How Can Surgeonfish Help Pediatric Surgeons? A Pilot Study Investigating the Antinociceptive Effect of Fish Aquariums in Adult Volunteers

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Multiple distraction strategies have been proposed to reduce the incidence of anxiety and pain in children. Animal-assisted therapy is acknowledged and used in children as an adjunctive treatment with cognitive, physical, psychosocial and spiritual benefits.OBJECTIVE: To determine the effect of fish aquarium animal-assisted therapy (FA-AAT) on pain perception in a cohort of healthy volunteers.METHODS: Sixty-nine healthy subjects (mean age 27.3 years) were exposed to >20 different species of soft or hard corals and >25 fish in a 1000 L saltwater aquarium. Pain perception was assessed using an electrical stimulation device, the Pain Matcher (Cefar Medical AB, Sweden), after 5 min, 10 min, 20 min and 30 min of continuous aquarium viewing. The measurements were repeated 10 min after stopping aquarium viewing.RESULTS: A statistically significant pain perception threshold augmentation was observed after a 5 min aquarium viewing. This threshold augmentation was also increased after 10 min, 20 min and 30 min of FA-AAT. A remnant effect was noted up to 10 min after exposure. This short post-viewing time period could be useful in clinical practice to perform certain painful procedures in children, such as those involving needles, under improved conditions immediately after aquarium exposure.CONCLUSIONS: In the authors’ department, FA-AAT is now used as a nonpharmacological antinociceptive technique in association with a protocol of inhalated oxygen/nitrous oxide mixtures for needle-related procedures. Children and parents are invited to watch the aquarium during the 10 min to 20 min before venous punctures.

Copyright © 2015 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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