Effect of Mozart music on heel prick pain in preterm infants: a pilot randomized controlled trial

Cristina Cavaiuolo, Anna Casani, Gaetano Di Manso, Luigi Orfeo


Objective: The aim of this pilot study was to determine the effect of music by Mozart on heel prick procedural pain in premature infants.

Background: Painful procedures are routinely performed in the setting of neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Pain may exert short- and long-term deleterious effects on premature babies. Many non-pharmacological interventions have been proven efficacious for blunting neonatal pain.

Study design: Randomized, controlled trial.

Methods: The study was carried out in the NICU of the “G. Rummo” Hospital in Benevento, Italy. The sample consisted of 42 preterm infants, with no hearing loss or significant cerebral lesions on cranial ultrasound. They were randomized to receive heel lance during a music condition or a no-music control condition. We set strict criteria for selecting and delivering the music. Baseline and postprocedural heart rate and transcutaneous oxygen saturation were manually recorded. The Premature Infant Pain Profile (PIPP) score was used to measure the behavioral response to prick. An unpaired t-test was performed for the intergroup comparisons.

Results: There were significant differences between groups on heart rate increase, oxygen saturation reduction and PIPP score following the procedure.

Conclusions: Listening to Mozart music during heel prick is a simple and inexpensive tool for pain alleviating in preterm stable neonates.


Mozart music; premature infants; heel prick; pain; randomized controlled trial

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