Objective: To compare the differences in growth and physiologic regulation in cobedded preterm twins versus individually bedded preterm twins while in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
Subjects: Infants born between 28 to 34 weeks gestation in a Level III NICU were eligible for enrollment into the study. Forty-nine sets of twins were enrolled in the study and 41 sets were ultimately analyzed. There were 21 twin sets (42 infants) in the experimental group and 20 sets (40 infants) in the control group.
Design: A prospective randomized design was used.
Methods: Parents of twins in a level III NICU were approached for consent to participate in the study. Twins were randomized using sealed envelopes that designated placement in either the control or experimental group. Twin sets who were randomized to the control group received routine care in separate beds. Twin sets in the experimental group received routine care in the same bed. Guidelines for positioning of cobedded twins were utilized. Treatment and data collection started when infants met the inclusion criteria for the study.
Main outcome measures: Measurements of weekly weight gain and episodes of apnea/bradycardia/desaturation (A/B/D) were collected for each group.
Principal results: After adjusting for baseline weight in an analysis of covariance model, the cobedded group demonstrated a significantly higher mean weight compared to the control group at week 1 (1,644 vs. 1,572 grams, respectively, F = 11.6, P = 0.001) and at week 2 (1,755 vs. 1,693 grams, respectively, F = 5.7, P = 0.02). There was no difference in the median number of total combined A/B/D episodes between the 2 groups.
Conclusions: A greater increase in mean weight gain was noted in the cobedded group compared to the control group.