Objectives: To describe the incidence of infection in a group of cobedded preterm twin infants and compare it to the incidence of infection in a cohort of preterm twin infants cared for in the same institution prior to the onset of cobedding.
Design: Retrospective descriptive design.
Setting: Tertiary, referral neonatal intensive-care unit in the Midwest.
Participants: Preterm twin infants between 23 and 35 weeks gestational age.
Methods: Data from 1997 to 2001 (cobedding) compared to data from 1992 to 1996 (no cobedding).
Main outcome measure: Infection as evidenced by positive blood, cerebrospinal fluid, or urine culture or radiographic evidence of pneumonia or necrotizing enterocolitis.
Results: Independent samples t test found the cobedded and non-cobedded infants to be homogenous in demographic data. A 2-way analysis of variance demonstrated no significant effects for cobedded infants on number of sepsis evaluations or number of positive blood cultures. There was a statistically significant difference for number of positive blood cultures at discharge reflecting the increased number of positive blood cultures in the non-cobedded infants. Finally, there were no statistically significant differences found between cobedded and non-cobedded for the presence of pneumonia or necrotizing enterocolitis.
Conclusions: Cobedding of preterm twins cared for in the intensive-care nursery was not associated with an increased incidence of infection. Prospective studies are needed on cobedding before a change in practice is implemented.