Aim: To identify changes in practice between two historical periods (2002 vs. 2011) in early delivery room (DR) management of ELBWI in Italian tertiary centres.
Methods: A questionnaire was sent to the directors of all Italian level III centres between April and August 2012. The same questionnaire was used in a national survey conducted in 2002. Among the participating centres, those that filled the questionnaire in both study periods were selected for inclusion in this study.
Results: There was an 88% (n=76/86) and 92% (n=98/107) response rate in the 2 surveys, respectively. The two groups overlapped for 64 centres. During the study period, the use of polyethylene bags/wraps increased from 4.7% to 59.4% of the centres. The units using 100% oxygen concentrations to initiate resuscitation of ELBWI decreased from 56.2% to 6.2%. The approach to respiratory management was changed for the majority of the examined issues: positive pressure ventilation (PPV) administered through a T-piece resuscitator (from 14.0% to 85.9%); use of PEEP during PPV (from 35.9% to 95.3%); use of CPAP (from 43.1% to 86.2%). From 2002 to 2011, the percentages of ELBWI intubated in DR decreased in favor of those managed with N-CPAP; ELBWI receiving chest compressions and medications at birth were clinically comparable.
Conclusions: During the two study periods, the approach to the ELBWI at birth significantly changed. More attention was devoted to temperature control, use of oxygen, and less-invasive respiratory support. Nevertheless, some relevant interventions were not uniformly followed by the surveyed centres.
Keywords: Delivery room; Guidelines, infant, newborn; Premature; Resuscitation; Survey.
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