Background: International guidelines recommend delayed umbilical cord clamping (DCC) up to 1 min in preterm infants, unless the condition of the infant requires immediate resuscitation. However, clamping the cord prior to lung aeration may severely limit circulatory adaptation resulting in a reduction in cardiac output and hypoxia. Delaying cord clamping until lung aeration and ventilation have been established (physiological-based cord clamping, PBCC) allows for an adequately established pulmonary circulation and results in a more stable circulatory transition. The decline in cardiac output following time-based delayed cord clamping (TBCC) may thus be avoided. We hypothesise that PBCC, compared to TBCC, results in a more stable transition in very preterm infants, leading to improved clinical outcomes. The primary objective is to compare the effect of PBCC on intact survival with TBCC.
Methods: The Aeriation, Breathing, Clamping 3 (ABC3) trial is a multicentre randomised controlled clinical trial. In the interventional PBCC group, the umbilical cord is clamped after the infant is stabilised, defined as reaching heart rate > 100 bpm and SpO2 > 85% while using supplemental oxygen < 40%. In the control TBCC group, cord clamping is time based at 30-60 s. The primary outcome is survival without major cerebral and/or intestinal injury. Preterm infants born before 30 weeks of gestation are included after prenatal parental informed consent. The required sample size is 660 infants.
Discussion: The findings of this trial will provide evidence for future clinical guidelines on optimal cord clamping management in very preterm infants at birth.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03808051. First registered on January 17, 2019.
Keywords: Cord clamping; Physiological-based cord clamping; Preterm infants; Randomised clinical trial; Study protocol.
© 2022. The Author(s).