Neonatal Resuscitation Practices in Portuguese Delivery Rooms: A Cross-Sectional Study

Acta Med Port. 2024 May 2;37(5):342-354. doi: 10.20344/amp.20009. Epub 2024 May 2.


Introduction: Data from previous studies have demonstrated inconsistency between current evidence and delivery room resuscitation practices in developed countries. The primary aim of this study was to assess the quality of newborn healthcare and resuscitation practices in Portuguese delivery rooms, comparing current practices with the 2021 European Resuscitation Council guidelines. The secondary aim was to compare the consistency of practices between tertiary and non-tertiary centers across Portugal.

Methods: An 87-question survey concerning neonatal care was sent to all physicians registered with the Portuguese Neonatal Society via email. In order to compare practices between centers, participants were divided into two groups: Group A (level III and level IIb centers) and Group B (level IIa and I centers). A descriptive analysis of variables was performed in order to compare the two groups.

Results: In total, 130 physicians responded to the survey. Group A included 91 (70%) and Group B 39 (30%) respondents. More than 80% of participants reported the presence of a healthcare professional with basic newborn resuscitation training in all deliveries, essential equipment in the delivery room, such as a resuscitator with a light and heat source, a pulse oximeter, and an O2 blender, and performing delayed cord clamping for all neonates born without complications. Less than 60% reported performing team briefing before deliveries, the presence of electrocardiogram sensors, end-tidal CO2 detector, and continuous positive airway pressure in the delivery room, and monitoring the neonate's temperature. Major differences between groups were found regarding staff attending deliveries, education, equipment, thermal control, umbilical cord management, vital signs monitoring, prophylactic surfactant administration, and the neonate's transportation out of the delivery room.

Conclusion: Overall, adherence to neonatal resuscitation international guidelines was high among Portuguese physicians. However, differences between guidelines and current practices, as well as between centers with different levels of care, were identified. Areas for improvement include team briefing, ethics, education, available equipment in delivery rooms, temperature control, and airway management. The authors emphasize the importance of continuous education to ensure compliance with the most recent guidelines and ultimately improve neonatal health outcomes.

Keywords: Delivery Rooms; Infant; Newborn; Portugal; Resuscitation; Surveys and Questionnaires.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Delivery Rooms* / standards
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Portugal
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data
  • Resuscitation* / education
  • Resuscitation* / standards