Impact of cord clamping on haemodynamic transition in term newborn infants

Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2024 Apr 18;109(3):287-293. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2023-325652.


Objective: To assess the haemodynamic consequences of cord clamping (CC) in healthy term infants.

Design: Cohort study.

Setting: Tertiary maternity hospital.

Patients: 46 full-term vigorous infants born by caesarean section.

Interventions: Echocardiography was performed before CC, immediately after CC and at 5 min after birth.

Main outcome measures: Pulsed wave Doppler-derived cardiac output and the pulmonary artery acceleration time indexed to the right ventricle ejection time were obtained. As markers of loading fluctuations, the myocardial performance indexes and the velocities of the tricuspid and mitral valve annuli were determined with tissue Doppler imaging. Heart rate was derived from Doppler imaging throughout the assessments.

Results: Left ventricular output increased throughout the first minutes after birth (mean (SD) 222.4 (32.5) mL/kg/min before CC vs 239.7 (33.6) mL/kg/min at 5 min, p=0.01), while right ventricular output decreased (306.5 (48.2) mL/kg/min before vs 272.8 (55.5) mL/kg/min immediately after CC, p=0.001). The loading conditions of both ventricles were transiently impaired by CC, recovering at 5 min. Heart rate progressively decreased after birth, following a linear trend temporarily increased by CC. The variation in left ventricular output across the CC was directly correlated to the fluctuation of left ventricular preload over the same period (p=0.03).

Conclusions: This study illustrates the cardiovascular consequences of CC in term vigorous infants and offers insight into the haemodynamic transition from fetal to neonatal circulation in spontaneously breathing newborns. Strategies that aim to enhance left ventricular preload before CC may prevent complications of perinatal cardiovascular imbalance.

Keywords: cardiology; intensive care units, neonatal; neonatology; resuscitation.