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Non-pharmacological pain interventions for sickle cell crisis in pediatrics: A scoping review.

PROBLEM: Sickle cell crises (SCC) are recurrent, severe pain episodes experienced by people living with sickle cell disease (SCD). Non-pharmacological interventions have been recommended for SCC pain management however, little is known about the impact of these interventions on SCC pain. This scoping review aims to systematically identify evidence on the use and effectiveness of non-pharmacological interventions for pain management during SCC in the pediatric population.

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA: Studies were eligible if they are published in English and focusing on the use of any non-pharmacological interventions on pain during SCC in pediatric patients. Nine databases were searched including Medline, CINAHL and PsychInfo. Also, the reference lists of relevant studies were searched.

SAMPLE: The database searching yielded 1517 studies. After the title and abstract screening, 1348 studies were excluded, and 169 full texts were retrieved and screened. One study was identified through handsearching. Finally, 27 articles were included in this scoping review.

RESULTS: Across all studies, 27 different non-pharmacological interventions were identified. There were inconsistent results regarding the effectiveness of virtual reality, guided imagery, and cognitive-behavioral interventions in experimental studies. The most common interventions used at home were prayer, massage, and distraction. The main interventions used in hospitals were prayer and fluid intake, but this was explored by a few studies.

CONCLUSION: Pediatric SCD patients use numerous non-pharmacological interventions to manage pain during SCC. However, the impact of many interventions on SCC pain has not been empirically investigated.

IMPLICATIONS: Further research is necessary to establish the effectiveness of non-pharmacological interventions on SCC pain.

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