Needle phobia and stress-reducing medical devices in pediatric and adult chemotherapy patients. Academic Article uri icon


  • Needle phobia--fear of medical devices--is a significant problem in pediatric and adult chemotherapy patients. Stress-reducing medical devices is a new, effective cognitive therapy for needle phobia. Twenty-five pediatric and 25 adult chemotherapy patients were randomly exposed to conventional or stress-reducing decorated butterfly needles and syringes. Emotional stress responses were determined with the Visual Aversion Scale, Visual Analogue Fear Scale, Visual Analogue Anxiety Scale, and Visual Overall Stress Score for each needle and syringe design. Sixty-eight percent of the pediatric and 52% of the adult patients were overtly needle phobic, but children demonstrated significantly more aversion and stress (P < .001). Stress-reducing medical devices effectively and significantly reduced aversion, anxiety, fear, and overall stress, and were 76% effective in preventing overt needle phobia in children and 92% effective in adults (P < .001). One hundred percent of children and adults felt that stress-reducing medical devices should be available in chemotherapy clinics. Needle phobia and stress in pediatric and adult chemotherapy patients are significantly reduced by the use of stress-reducing medical devices.