Aims. This review was designed to evaluate the evidence relating to pain management interventions for patients having bone marrow biopsy.
Background. Bone marrow biopsy is an invasive procedure causing considerable pain and anxiety for adult patients, yet there are no guidelines to inform effective nursing care. Although this is an under-researched area, a range of pain interventions have been tested on this patient group, but this evidence has not been synthesised.
Design. Structured evidence review.
Method. The Cochrane Library and databases Medline, Scopus and Cinahl were searched for original research reports. Reference lists of retrieved papers were hand-searched and researchers in the field were contacted. Retrieved papers were analysed using the CASP framework. A narrative data synthesis considered the strengths and limitations of included studies and findings were collated and interpreted.
Results. No systematic reviews of evidence have been undertaken and the search strategy identified twelve research studies eligible for inclusion in the review. Hand-searching did not identify any additional studies, and emails to researchers confirmed this is an under-researched field. Analysis shows three main interventions, intravenous midazolam, premedication with analgesia and/or anxiolysis and the use of Entonox™ are used to manage the pain experience for patients undergoing a bone marrow biopsy.
Conclusions. Evidence is inconclusive and provides little guidance for practice. There is an urgent need for research into effective interventions for pain management in bone marrow biopsy and in understanding the patient experience.
Relevance to clinical practice. Nurses have a central role to play in the assessment and management of the pain and anxiety associated with bone marrow biopsy. There is little evidence to guide this aspect of care, but it is important that nurses involved with bone marrow biopsy are aware of the best evidence to facilitate the most effective management of their patients’ pain.