Physiological-based cord clamping in very preterm infants: the Aeration, Breathing, Clamping 3 (ABC3) trial-statistical analysis plan for a multicenter randomized controlled trial

Trials. 2024 Mar 4;25(1):164. doi: 10.1186/s13063-024-08014-y.


Background: Mortality, cerebral injury, and necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) are common complications of very preterm birth. An important risk factor for these complications is hemodynamic instability. Pre-clinical studies suggest that the timing of umbilical cord clamping affects hemodynamic stability during transition. Standard care is time-based cord clamping (TBCC), with clamping irrespective of lung aeration. It is unknown whether delaying cord clamping until lung aeration and ventilation have been established (physiological-based cord clamping, PBCC) is more beneficial. This document describes the statistical analyses for the ABC3 trial, which aims to assess the efficacy and safety of PBCC, compared to TBCC.

Methods: The ABC3 trial is a multicenter, randomized trial investigating PBCC (intervention) versus TBCC (control) in very preterm infants. The trial is ethically approved. Preterm infants born before 30 weeks of gestation are randomized after parental informed consent. The primary outcome is intact survival, defined as the composite of survival without major cerebral injury and/or NEC. Secondary short-term outcomes are co-morbidities and adverse events assessed during NICU admission, parental reported outcomes, and long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes assessed at a corrected age of 2 years. To test the hypothesis that PBCC increases intact survival, a logistic regression model will be estimated using generalized estimating equations (accounting for correlation between siblings and observations in the same center) with treatment and gestational age as predictors. This plan is written and submitted without knowledge of the data.

Discussion: The findings of this trial will provide evidence for future clinical guidelines on optimal cord clamping management at birth.

Trial registration: NCT03808051. Registered on 17 January 2019.

Keywords: Cord clamping; Physiological-based cord clamping; Preterm infants; Randomized clinical trial; Statistical Analysis Plan.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Constriction
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight
  • Premature Birth*
  • Respiration

Associated data