Background: Although international newborn resuscitation guidance has been in force for some time, there are no UK data on current newborn resuscitation practices.
Objective: Establish delivery room (DR) resuscitation practices in the UK, and identify any differences between neonatal intensive care units (NICU), and other local neonatal services.
Methods: We conducted a structured two-stage survey of DR management, among UK neonatal units during 2009-2010 (n=192). Differences between NICU services (tertiary level) and other local neonatal services (non-tertiary) were analysed using Fisher's exact and Student's t-tests.
Results: There was an 89% response rate (n=171). More tertiary NICUs institute DR CPAP than non-tertiary units (43% vs. 16%, P=0.0001) though there was no significant difference in frequency of elective intubation and surfactant administration for preterm babies. More tertiary units commence DR resuscitation in air (62% vs. 29%, P<0.0001) and fewer in 100% oxygen (11% vs. 41%, P<0.0001). Resuscitation of preterm babies in particular, commences with air in 56% of tertiary units. Significantly more tertiary units use DR pulse oximeters (58% vs. 29%, P<0.01) and titrate oxygen based on saturations. Almost all services use occlusive wrapping to maintain temperature for preterm infants.
Conclusions: In the UK, there are many areas of good evidence based DR practice. However, there is marked variation in management, including between units of different designation, suggesting a need to review practice to fulfil new resuscitation guidance, which will have training and resource implications.
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