Randomized clinical trial of an oscillating air mattress in preterm infants: Effect on apnea, growth, and development
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To investigate claims that oscillating mattresses reduce apnea of prematurity and improve growth and neurobehavioural development, we performed a randomized clinical trial using a predetermined sample size. Preterm infants weighing from 750 to 1750 gm at birth were randomly assigned, by 250 gm strata, to either a conventional mattress (n = 63) or to an air mattress (n = 59) oscillating at 14 to 16 regular pulses per minute. Infants remained on the oscillating air mattress for at least 7 days or until 34 weeks postmenstrual age. Apneic episodes occurred and required treatment equally in the two groups; this lack of an effect was seen for both sexes and all weight groups. Both weight and energy intake were similar. Neurobehavioral development as shown by sleep state, habituation testing, and behavioral assessment at term, 3, 6, and 12 months was similar in the two groups. There was no difference in the incidence of neurologic abnormalities. We conclude that an oscillating air mattress has no prophylactic value in reducing apnea and does not enhance growth and development.
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