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      Duration of Cord Clamping and Neonatal Outcomes in Very Preterm Infants

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          Delayed cord clamping (DCC, ≥30s) increases blood volume in newborns and is associated with fewer blood transfusions and short-term neonatal complications. The optimal timing of cord clamping for very preterm infants should maximize placental transfusion without interfering with stabilization and resuscitation.


          We compared the effect of different durations of DCC, 30-45s vs. 60-75s, on delivery room (DR) and neonatal outcomes in preterm infants <32 weeks gestational age (GA).


          This is a single-center prospective observational study. Data were collected prospectively from eligible infants from two groups: 30-45s DCC group (January 2008 to February 2011, n = 187) and 60-75s DCC group (March 2011 to April 2014, n = 166).


          The 60-75s DCC group compared to the 30-45s DCC group had higher hematocrits at <2 hours (49.2% vs. 47.4%, p = 0.02). In infants <28 weeks GA, the 12–36 hours hematocrit was higher in the 60-75s DCC group compared to the 30-45s DCC group (47.9% vs. 42.1%, p = 0.002). The 60-75s DCC group had reductions in DR intubation (11% vs. 22%, p = 0.004), hypothermia on admission (1% vs. 5%, p = 0.01), surfactant therapy (13% vs. 28%, p = 0.001), intubation in the first 24 hours (20% vs. 34%, p = 0.004), any intubation (27% vs. 40%, p = 0.007), and any red blood cell transfusion (20% vs. 33%, p = 0.008) during the hospitalization compared to the 30-45s DCC group. These reductions remained significant after adjusting for GA, gender and >48 hours of antenatal steroid exposure. There was no difference between the two groups in neonatal death, intraventricular hemorrhage, chronic lung disease, late onset sepsis, necrotizing enterocolitis and severe retinopathy of prematurity.


          In this study cohort increasing DCC duration from 30-45s to 60-75s is associated with decreased hypothermia on admission, neonatal respiratory interventions and red blood cell transfusions without increase in neonatal mortality and morbidities.

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          Most cited references 22

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          Effect of timing of umbilical cord clamping and other strategies to influence placental transfusion at preterm birth on maternal and infant outcomes.

          Optimal timing for clamping the umbilical cord at preterm birth is unclear. Early clamping allows for immediate transfer of the infant to the neonatologist. Delaying clamping allows blood flow between the placenta, the umbilical cord and the baby to continue. The blood which transfers to the baby between birth and cord clamping is called placental transfusion. Placental transfusion may improve circulating volume at birth, which may in turn improve outcome for preterm infants. To assess the short- and long-term effects of early rather than delaying clamping or milking of the umbilical cord for infants born at less than 37 completed weeks' gestation, and their mothers. We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group Trials Register (31 May 2011). We updated this search on 26 June 2012 and added the results to the awaiting classification section. Randomised controlled trials comparing early with delayed clamping of the umbilical cord and other strategies to influence placental transfusion for births before 37 completed weeks' gestation. Three review authors assessed eligibility and trial quality. Fifteen studies (738 infants) were eligible for inclusion. Participants were between 24 and 36 weeks' gestation at birth. The maximum delay in cord clamping was 180 seconds. Delaying cord clamping was associated with fewer infants requiring transfusions for anaemia (seven trials, 392 infants; risk ratio (RR) 0.61, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.46 to 0.81), less intraventricular haemorrhage (ultrasound diagnosis all grades) 10 trials, 539 infants (RR 0.59, 95% CI 0.41 to 0.85) and lower risk for necrotising enterocolitis (five trials, 241 infants, RR 0.62, 95% CI 0.43 to 0.90) compared with immediate clamping. However, the peak bilirubin concentration was higher for infants allocated to delayed cord clamping compared with immediate clamping (seven trials, 320 infants, mean difference 15.01 mmol/L, 95% CI 5.62 to 24.40). For most other outcomes (including the primary outcomes infant death, severe (grade three to four) intraventricular haemorrhage and periventricular leukomalacia) there were no clear differences identified between groups; but for many there was incomplete reporting and wide CIs. Outcome after discharge from hospital was reported for one small study; there were no significant differences between the groups in mean Bayley II scores at age seven months (corrected for gestation at birth (58 children)).No studies reported outcomes for the women. Providing additional placental blood to the preterm baby by either delaying cord clamping for 30 to 120 seconds, rather than early clamping, seems to be associated with less need for transfusion, better circulatory stability, less intraventricular haemorrhage (all grades) and lower risk for necrotising enterocolitis. However, there were insufficient data for reliable conclusions about the comparative effects on any of the primary outcomes for this review.
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            Distribution of blood between infant and placenta after birth.

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              Delayed cord clamping in very preterm infants reduces the incidence of intraventricular hemorrhage and late-onset sepsis: a randomized, controlled trial.

              This study compared the effects of immediate (ICC) and delayed (DCC) cord clamping on very low birth weight (VLBW) infants on 2 primary variables: bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) and suspected necrotizing enterocolitis (SNEC). Other outcome variables were late-onset sepsis (LOS) and intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH). This was a randomized, controlled unmasked trial in which women in labor with singleton fetuses <32 weeks' gestation were randomly assigned to ICC (cord clamped at 5-10 seconds) or DCC (30-45 seconds) groups. Women were excluded for the following reasons: their obstetrician refused to participate, major congenital anomalies, multiple gestations, intent to withhold care, severe maternal illnesses, placenta abruption or previa, or rapid delivery after admission. Seventy-two mother/infant pairs were randomized. Infants in the ICC and DCC groups weighed 1151 and 1175 g, and mean gestational ages were 28.2 and 28.3 weeks, respectively. Analyses revealed no difference in maternal and infant demographic, clinical, and safety variables. There were no differences in the incidence of our primary outcomes (BPD and suspected NEC). However, significant differences were found between the ICC and DCC groups in the rates of IVH and LOS. Two of the 23 male infants in the DCC group had IVH versus 8 of the 19 in the ICC group. No cases of sepsis occurred in the 23 boys in the DCC group, whereas 6 of the 19 boys in the ICC group had confirmed sepsis. There was a trend toward higher initial hematocrit in the infants in the DCC group. Delayed cord clamping seems to protect VLBW infants from IVH and LOS, especially for male infants.

                Author and article information

                Role: Editor
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
                21 September 2015
                : 10
                : 9
                Department of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, San Jose, California, United States of America
                NIH, UNITED STATES
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                Conceived and designed the experiments: DS PJ GD BG. Performed the experiments: DS PJ GD BG. Analyzed the data: DS PJ GD BG. Wrote the paper: DS PJ GD BG.


                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited

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                Figures: 2, Tables: 5, Pages: 10
                The authors have no support or funding to report.
                Research Article
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                All data files are available from the datadryad database (doi: 10.5061/dryad.4q3d3).



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