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Assessment of neonatal heart rate immediately after birth using digital stethoscope, handheld ultrasound and electrocardiography: an observational cohort study
  1. Bryony P Treston1,
  2. Jana Semberova1,2,
  3. Robert Kernan1,
  4. Erica Crothers1,
  5. Aoife Branagan1,
  6. Niamh O’Cathain1,
  7. Jan Miletin1,2,3,4
  1. 1 Department of Neonatology, Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
  2. 2 Department of Neonatology, Institute for the Care of Mother and Child, Prague, Czech Republic
  3. 3 UCD School of Medicine and Medical Science, Dublin, Ireland
  4. 4 Third School of Medicine, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
  1. Correspondence to Dr Bryony P Treston, Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital, Dublin 8, Ireland; trestonb{at}

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The extent and initiation of cardiopulmonary resuscitation of neonates in the delivery room are largely guided by neonatal heart rate (HR), with current guidelines recommending the use of ECG for HR monitoring during resuscitation.1–3 Our aim was to determine if handheld ultrasound (HUS) or digital stethoscope (DS) could offer a novel method of quickly and effectively assessing HR in the delivery suite.

Two physicians attended each delivery, one assessed the HR by stethoscope auscultation and the second assessed the HR using either HUS (Mortara, Signos RT Personal Ultrasound), DS (Littmann 3200, 3M, USA) or ECG (IntelliVue MP5, Philips, The Netherlands). The time to achieve first HR and the HR recorded were noted, then when both modalities were recording a simultaneous …

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  • Contributors Project design: JS and RK conceptualised the idea for the project, and JS, RK, JM and BPT designed the study. Ethics proposal was submitted by JS, BPT, RK and JM. The mothers of the infants involved in the study were consented by NOC and BPT. Patient and staff information leaflets were produced and circulated by BPT. Data on the infants involved in the study were collected by BPT, NOC, JS, JM, AB and EC. This involved attending deliveries in advance, gathering data from patient charts, and recording the heart rate by stethoscope or relevant research device (ECG, handheld ultrasound or digital stethoscope). Data were analysed by JM and BPT. Drafting the article and critical revision of the article were carried out by BPT, JS and JM. Final approval of the version to be published was completed by all authors (BPT, JS, RK, EC, AB, NOC and JM).

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Parental/guardian consent obtained.

  • Ethics approval Ethics Committee Coombe Women and Infants Hospital.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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