Iatrogenic complications in the neonatal intensive care unit

J Perinatol. 2010 Oct;30 Suppl:S51-6. doi: 10.1038/jp.2010.102.


With the introduction of novel technologies and approaches in neonatal care and the lack of appropriately designed and well-executed randomized clinical trials to investigate the impact of these interventions, iatrogenic complications have been increasingly seen in the neonatal intensive care unit. In addition, increased awareness and the introduction of more appropriate quality control measures have resulted in higher levels of suspicion about and increased recognition of complications associated with delivery of care. The incidence of complications also rises with the increased length of hospital stay and level of immaturity. Approximately half of the iatrogenic complications are related to medication errors. The other complications are due to nosocomial infections, insertion of invasive catheters, prolonged mechanical ventilation, administration of parenteral nutrition solution, skin damage and environmental complications. Adopting newer technologies and preventive measures might decrease these complications and improve outcomes. Quality improvement projects targeting areas for improvement are expected to build team spirit and further improve the outcomes. In addition, participation in national reporting systems will enhance education and provide an opportunity to compare outcomes with peer institutions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Catheter-Related Infections / prevention & control
  • Catheters / adverse effects
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control
  • Health Education
  • Humans
  • Iatrogenic Disease* / epidemiology
  • Iatrogenic Disease* / prevention & control
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / therapy
  • Infant, Premature
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal / organization & administration*
  • Length of Stay
  • Medication Errors* / prevention & control
  • Parenteral Nutrition Solutions / adverse effects
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care / organization & administration
  • Research Design
  • Respiration, Artificial / adverse effects
  • Risk Management / organization & administration


  • Parenteral Nutrition Solutions