Preterm birth results in a baby being born before their lungs have reached full maturity. This means that many preterm babies will struggle to breath independently when they are born. It has recently come to light that the volume of air delivered during resuscitation of a preterm baby in the delivery room is not controlled.
The main finding of this paper is that if a preterm baby receives a large volume of air during resuscitation in the delivery room then they are at significantly higher risk of brain injury. This is of critical importance given the direct correlation between this initial brain injury and long term deficit such as neurodevelopmental delay, cognitive deficit and even cerebral palsy.
Thus, this paper highlights the importance of optimising resuscitation in the delivery room in order to reduce the risk of neonatal brain injury and long term brain damage.
The Ritchie Centre
Perinatal Transition Group
Journal and article title
It has long been common practice to only control the pressure delivered during resuscitation; however, this study brings to light the importance of also monitoring the volume delivered.
There is already an established correlation between preterm birth, neonatal brain injury and subsequent neurological deficit. Thus, any intervention that could exacerbate this risk should be avoided if possible. Our study has demonstrated that large volumes during resuscitation are sufficient to exacerbate brain injury. Therefore, the drive is to change policy and make sure it is common practice to monitor the volume delivered during ventilation. it is imperative that we do what we can to protect the already vulnerable preterm baby brain.