Dr Graeme Polglase
The World Health Organisation estimates that between five and nine million babies are born asphyxic (with a lack of oxygen) every year, with one million of these infants dying. Those that survive have very high rates of brain injury, including cerebral palsy. Current international resuscitation guidelines recommend that all life support of asphyxic infants at birth should be initiated after the umbilical cord is clamped. Our study showed that if life support, including respiratory support, is administered prior to cord clamping, then cardiac output and blood pressure were better controlled which protected the brain from very high pressure and blood flow, resulting in reduced bleeding.
The Ritchie Centre
Perinatal Transition Research Group
Journal and article title
This was the first study to demonstrate that the initial resuscitation of asphyxic/hypoxic infants can be conducted on the umbilical cord, and in fact, it actually infers benefits including reduced brain injury, compared to the current guideline recommendations.
The findings of this research have implications for the initial treatment of infants in the delivery room worldwide, particularly in developing nations, where the majority of infant deaths from asphyxia occur every year.
Perinatal Brain Injury