Effect of the Use of Buzzy® During Phlebotomy on Pain and Individual Satisfaction in Blood Donors

Dilek Yılmaz, PhD; Yasemin Heper, MD; Leyla Gözler, BA


Pain Manag Nurs. 2017;18(4):260-267. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Phlebotomy causes pain and discomfort to adults. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of the use of Buzzy® on phlebotomy satisfaction and pain relating to the phlebotomy process in healthy adult blood donors voluntarily donating blood. This was a prospective, randomized, controlled experimental study. The research sample was made up of 90 healthy adult men. These individuals were randomly assigned to an experimental group (Buzzy group), a placebo control group, and a nonintervention control group. For the individuals in the experimental group, the ice wings of the Buzzy device, frozen solid in the refrigerator, were placed approximately 5 centimeters above the intervention site from 1 minute before the procedure until the end of the needle location process. When the device was operated, it applied vibration and cold to the site. For individuals in the placebo control group, the Buzzy device was also located approximately 5 centimeters above the intervention site from 1 minute before the procedure until the end of the needle location process, but with the ice wings at room temperature (unfrozen) and with the vibration switch remaining off. For the nonintervention control group, no intervention was implemented before the procedure. Immediately after entry to the vein, pain levels and levels of phlebotomy satisfaction were assessed in individuals in all groups. A statistically significant difference was determined between the mean pain and phlebotomy satisfaction scores of individuals in the experimental and control groups (p < .05). Results indicate that use of the Buzzy device was an effective method of reducing the pain of phlebotomy and increasing phlebotomy satisfaction in healthy adult male blood donors.


Phlebotomy is an invasive intervention that is widely practiced in health care (Aydin et al., 2016, Kiran et al., 2013, Whelan et al., 2014). It has been reported that individuals often experience stress and acute pain during phlebotomy (Ialongo and Bernardini, 2016, Whelan et al., 2014). In addition, it has been determined that hospital visits may be delayed because of fear of needles and symptoms such as pain (Pasero, 2003).

Control of the pain created by entry of the needle into the vein is achieved by both pharmacological and nonpharmacological methods (Schechter et al., 2007, Taddio et al., 2010). Hitherto, control of the pain of phlebotomy has been achieved by topical anesthetic creams (Eichenfield et al., 2002, Rogers and Ostrow, 2004) or vapocoolant sprays (Farion et al., 2008, Jimenez et al., 2006). But it has been reported in studies that pharmacological methods used in pain management have limitations such as the possibility of side effects (Pershad et al., 2008, Sethna et al., 2005, Zempsky et al., 2008), extra time and greater cost (Fein and Gorelick, 2006, Leahy et al., 2008, Sethna et al., 2005), and not being very suitable for use in health care environments where speed is necessary, such as in phlebotomy stations (Baxter et al., 2011, MacLaren and Cohen, 2007, Inal and Kelleci, 2012). On the other hand, nonpharmacological approaches used in the control of pain include techniques such as listening to music, attracting the attention elsewhere, and blowing into a sphygmomanometer (Dutt-Gupta et al., 2007, Sinha et al., 2005). Although some data obtained from studies support each of these techniques, it is reported that there is no one single integrated method for optimal pain control (Inal & Kelleci, 2012). For all these reasons, in fast-tempo work environments, such as phlebotomy stations, there is a need for effective methods for the control of pain related to invasive procedures that are easy to use, do not entail high costs, and do not have the possibility of side effects.

Buzzy® (MMJ Labs, Atlanta, GA, USA) is a device designed to reduce the pain experienced during invasive procedures. It uses the combined application of external cold and vibration to help relieve pain and discomfort and can be used repeatedly on both children and adults (Home/Buzzy Helps, 2016) (Figure 1). Studies have reported that the use of Buzzy gives positive results in reducing pain during entry to a vein (Baxter et al., 2011, Inal and Kelleci, 2012, Schreiber et al., 2016, Whelan et al., 2014).

Figure 1.


In Turkey, nonpharmacological methods are not routinely used to reduce the pain of phlebotomy in voluntary blood donors. Studies in the literature examining the effect on pain of the use of Buzzy during phlebotomy have compared it either with a control group or with pharmacological methods. This study differs from others in that only adult male voluntary blood donors were included, individual satisfaction with the procedure was evaluated, and the procedure group was compared with control groups both with and without intervention. Therefore, this study will identify whether or not the Buzzy device has a placebo effect.

In this way, a need was felt for research based on the previously stated results to determine whether nonpharmacological methods can be effective and whether they can raise satisfaction in controlling the pain and discomfort of phlebotomy. It is thought that the results of this research will help health professionals to extend the use of a simple nonpharmacological method and will make a contribution to the literature.

The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of the use of Buzzy on phlebotomy satisfaction and the pain of phlebotomy in healthy adult men who were voluntarily donating blood.