Objective: To analyze articles on neonatal pain indexed in MEDLINE from 1965 to 1999. Methods: Papers published since 1965 and indexed in MEDLINE (PubMed http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov) were considered. The search strategy was: 'pain' (MeSH terms) OR 'pain' (Title word) OR 'pain' (All Fields), AND 'infant, newborn' (MeSH terms). After the search was completed, a printed copy of the references was obtained, and each reference was reviewed to establish its pertinence to the study's objective. For each article, the year of publication, the journal of publication, the language of the journal, the country of the first author, the type of article and the subject were analyzed. Results: Only 545 of 2490 references identified by the MEDLINE search were considered to deal with neonatal pain. Few articles on neonatal pain were published from 1965 to 1985, but the number of articles published on this topic increased sharply after 1985. Most of the papers were published in English (84.6%). The United States, Canada and the United Kingdom were the main countries that published neonatal pain articles (38.6%, 14.2% and 13.3%, respectively). Clinical research articles (31.7%) were published most frequently; the main subjects of all the articles were pain related to colic (20.4%), general neonatal pain issues (13.6%) and procedural pain (13.4%). Pediatrics and Archives of Diseases in Childhood were the journals that published the most articles on neonatal pain (27 and 22, respectively). Conclusions: Pain in neonates was a neglected subject of publication until the mid-1980s, and, currently, only a few countries seem interested in this type of pain. This lack of interest may be related to the undertreatment of pain in the neonatal period.
- Neonatal pain