Improving Delivery Room Management for Very Preterm Infants
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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Events in the delivery room significantly impact the outcomes of preterm infants. We developed evidence-based guidelines to prevent heat loss, reduce exposure to supplemental oxygen, and increase use of noninvasive respiratory support to improve the care and outcomes of infants with birth weight ≤1250 g at our institution. METHODS: The guidelines were implemented through multidisciplinary conferences, routine use of a checklist, appointment of a dedicated resuscitation nurse, and frequent feedback to clinicians. This cohort study compares a historical group (n = 80) to a prospective group (n = 80, after guidelines were implemented). Primary outcome was axillary temperature at admission to the intensive care nursery. Secondary outcomes measured adherence to the guidelines and changes in clinically relevant patient outcomes. RESULTS: Baseline characteristics of the groups were similar. After introduction of the guidelines, average admission temperatures increased (36.4°C vs 36.7°C, P < .001) and the proportion of infants admitted with moderate/severe hypothermia fell (14% vs 1%, P = .003). Infants were exposed to less oxygen during the first 10 minutes (P < .001), with similar oxygen saturations. Although more patients were tried on continuous positive airway pressure (40% vs 61%, P = .007), the intubation rate was not significantly different (64% vs 54%, P = .20). Median durations of invasive ventilation and hospitalization decreased after the quality initiative (5 vs 1 days [P = .008] and 80 vs 60 days [P = .02], respectively). CONCLUSIONS: We have demonstrated significantly improved quality of delivery room care for very preterm infants after introduction of evidence-based delivery room guidelines. Multidisciplinary involvement and continuous education and reinforcement of the guidelines permitted sustained change.
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