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Knee-to-chest flexion manoeuvre to reduce respiratory distress after planned caesarean birth: a feasibility study

Abstract

Background Planned caesarean section (CS) is a risk factor for neonatal respiratory distress caused by a greater volume of airway liquid in the absence of uterine contractions.

Performing a newly conceptualised knee-to-chest flexion (KCF) manoeuvre at birth, mimicking uterine contraction-induced flexion may aid in expelling excess lung liquid.

Objectives To test whether performing a KCF manoeuvre at birth is feasible in infants born after planned CS and to test whether KCF leads to visible expulsion of lung liquid.

Methods Single-centre prospective interventional study in term infants born by planned CS at Leiden University Medical Centre, Netherlands. KCF was performed for a maximum of 45 s. Baseline characteristics were collected, primary outcome was ability to perform KCF and secondary outcome was any visible expulsion of fluid.

Results In 39 infants (mean (SD) gestational age 38.0 (0.7) weeks, birth weight 3537 (440) g), KCF could be performed in 21/39 (54%), whereas 18/39 (46.2%) starting vigorous breathing before KCF could be performed. Notably, visible lung liquid expulsion occurred in 9/21 (43%) infants. KCF duration averaged 29 (18) s. In 13/21 (62 %), KCF was not performed as per standard operating procedure. No adverse events were reported.

Conclusion It is feasible to perform KCF at birth in a large proportion of term infants born by planned CS, with visible expulsion of liquid in a significant proportion of these infants. Training healthcare providers to perform a standardised KCF could increase feasibility and success. Further studies are needed to assess feasibility and effectiveness of KCF.

Trial registration number NL74285.058.20.

  • Neonatology
  • Respiratory Medicine

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. Data are available upon reasonable request. All data generated or analysed during this study are available from the Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC) upon reasonable request from the corresponding author.

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