Placental Transfusion Strategies in Preterm Infants in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review and Network Meta-Analysis

Neonatology. 2023;120(1):118-133. doi: 10.1159/000527454. Epub 2022 Dec 14.


Introduction: Placental transfusion strategies in preterm newborns have not been evaluated in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The objective of this systematic review was to compare placental transfusion strategies in preterm newborns in LMICs, including delayed cord clamping (DCC) for various time intervals, DCC until cord pulsations stop, umbilical cord milking, and immediate cord clamping (ICC).

Methods: Medline, Embase, CINAHL, and CENTRAL were searched from inception. Observational studies and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were included. Two authors independently extracted data for Bayesian random-effects network meta-analysis (NMA) if more than 3 interventions reported an outcome or a pairwise meta-analysis was utilized.

Results: Among newborns <34 weeks of gestation, NMA of 9 RCTs could not rule out benefit or harm for survival from DCC 30-60 s compared to ICC: relative risk (RR) (95% credible interval) 0.96 (0.78-1.12), moderate certainty, or any included strategy compared to each other (low to very low certainty). Among late preterm newborns, DCC 120 s might be associated with improved survival: RR (95% confidence interval) 1.11 (1.01-1.22), very low certainty. We could not detect differences in the risk of intraventricular hemorrhage grade > II and bronchopulmonary dysplasia for any included intervention (low to very low certainty). DCC 60 s and 120 s might improve the hematocrit level among all preterm newborns (very low certainty), and DCC 45 s may decrease the risk of receipt of inotropes among newborns <34 weeks of gestation (low certainty).

Conclusions: In LMICs, DCC for 60 s and 120 s might improve hematocrit level in preterm newborns, and DCC for 45 s may decrease the risk of receipt of inotropes in newborns <34 weeks, with no conclusive effect on survival.

Keywords: Delayed cord clamping; Low- and middle-income countries; Neonate; Preterm; Umbilical cord milking.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Constriction
  • Developing Countries*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Network Meta-Analysis
  • Pregnancy
  • Umbilical Cord
  • Umbilical Cord Clamping*