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Respiratory function monitoring to improve the outcomes following neonatal resuscitation: a systematic review and meta-analysis


Importance Animal and observational human studies report that delivery of excessive tidal volume (VT) at birth is associated with lung and brain injury. Using a respiratory function monitor (RFM) to guide VT delivery might reduce injury and improve outcomes.

Objective To determine whether use of an RFM in addition to clinical assessment versus clinical assessment alone during mask ventilation in the delivery room reduces in-hospital mortality and morbidity of infants <37 weeks’ gestation.

Study selection Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing RFM in addition to clinical assessment versus clinical assessment alone during mask ventilation in the delivery room of infants born <37 weeks’ gestation.

Data analysis Risk of bias was assessed using Covidence Collaboration tool and pooled into a meta-analysis using a random-effects model. The primary outcome was death prior to discharge.

Main outcome Death before hospital discharge.

Results Three RCTs enrolling 443 infants were combined in a meta-analysis. The pooled analysis showed no difference in rates of death before discharge with an RFM versus no RFM, relative risk (RR) 95% (CI) 0.98 (0.64 to 1.48). The pooled analysis suggested a significant reduction for brain injury (a combination of intraventricular haemorrhage and periventricular leucomalacia) (RR 0.65 (0.48 to 0.89), p=0.006) and for intraventricular haemorrhage (RR 0.69 (0.50 to 0.96), p=0.03) in infants receiving positive pressure ventilation with an RFM versus no RFM.

Conclusion In infants <37 weeks, an RFM in addition to clinical assessment compared with clinical assessment during mask ventilation resulted in similar in-hospital mortality, significant reduction for any brain injury and intraventricular haemorrhage. Further trials are required to determine whether RFMs should be routinely available for neonatal resuscitation.

  • resuscitation
  • neonatology
  • intensive care units
  • neonatal

Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplemental information.

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