Third International Workshop on Models and Analysis of Vocal Emissions for Biomedical Applications (MAVEBA 2003)

Florence, Italy
December 10-12, 2003

Cry Features as a Measure of Pain Intensity in Newborns

R. Sisto (1), C. V. Bellieni (2), D. M. Cordelli (2), G. Buonocore (2)

(1) Department of Occupational Health, ISPESL, Monteporao Catone Glome). Italy
(2) Department of Pediatrics. Obstetrics and Reproductive Medicine. University of Siena. Italy

Acoustical characteristics of the cry of 57 newborns during heel-prick were correlated to pain intensify, as evaluated according to the DAN index. A time-frequency analysis of the acoustic waveform showed that the fundamental frequency and the rms normalized pressure level are both correlated to DAIS* score. Moreover, a typical "siren cry" pattern was observed in more than 60% of the subjects with DAN score ≥9 and in none of those with DAN score ≤8. This observation and the rapid increase of the fundamental frequency above DAN=8 suggest that this DAN score represents a threshold level Above this level, the acoustic features of the cry change significantly, conveying a message of unbearable pain and danger.

Index Terms. cry, neonate, pain

Full Paper (reprinted with permission from Firenze University Press)

Bibliographic reference.  Sisto, R. / Bellieni, C. V. / Cordelli, D. M. / Buonocore, G. (2003): "Cry features as a measure of pain intensity in newborns", In MAVEBA-2003, 43-46.