Effect of Placental Transfusion on Long-Term Neurodevelopmental Outcomes in Premature Infants: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Pediatr Neurol. 2024 May:154:20-25. doi: 10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2024.01.018. Epub 2024 Feb 1.


Background: The pathophysiology and the potential risks of placental transfusion (PT) differ substantially in preterm infants, necessitating specific studies in this population. This study aimed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of PT in preterm infants from the perspective of long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes.

Methods: We conducted a systematic literature search using placental transfusion, preterm infant, and its synonyms as search terms. Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Medline, and Embase were searched until March 07, 2023. Two reviewers independently identified, extracted relevant randomized controlled trials, and appraised the risk of bias. The extracted studies were included in the meta-analysis of long-term neurodevelopmental clinical outcomes using fixed-effects models.

Results: A total of 5612 articles were identified, and seven randomized controlled trials involving 2551 infants were included in our meta-analysis. Compared with immediate cord clamping (ICC), PT may not impact adverse neurodevelopment events. No clear evidence was found of a difference in the risk of neurodevelopmental impairment (risk ratio [RR]: 0.89, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.76 to 1.03, P = 0.13, I2 = 0). PT was not associated with the incidence of cerebral palsy (RR: 1.23, 95% CI: 0.59 to 2.57, P = 0.79, I2 = 0). Analyses showed no differences between the two interventions in cognitive, language, and motor domains of neurodevelopment.

Conclusions: From the perspective of long-term neurodevelopment, PT at preterm birth may be as safe as ICC. Future studies should focus on standardized, high-quality clinical trials and individual participant data to optimize cord management strategies for preterm infants after birth.

Keywords: Meta-analysis; Neurodevelopmental outcomes; Placental transfusion; Preterm infants; Randomized controlled trial.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Placenta
  • Pregnancy
  • Premature Birth*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Umbilical Cord Clamping