Haemodynamic effects of umbilical cord milking in premature sheep during the neonatal transition

Douglas A. Blank, Graeme R. Polglase, Martin Kluckow, Andrew William Gill, Kelly J. Crossley, Alison Moxham, Karyn Rodgers, Valerie Zahra, Ishmael Inocencio, Fiona Stenning, Domeic A. Larosa, Peter G. Davis, Stuart B. Hooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


Objective Umbilical cord milking (UCM) at birth may benefit preterm infants, but the physiological effects of UCM are unknown. We compared the physiological effects of two UCM strategies with immediate umbilical cord clamping (UCC) and physiological-based cord clamping (PBCC) in preterm lambs. Methods At 126 days' gestational age, fetal lambs were exteriorised, intubated and instrumented to measure umbilical, pulmonary and cerebral blood flows and arterial pressures. Lambs received either (1) UCM without placental refill (UCMwoPR); (2) UCM with placental refill (UCMwPR); (3) PBCC, whereby ventilation commenced prior to UCC; or (4) immediate UCC. UCM involved eight milks along a 10 cm length of cord, followed by UCC. Results A net volume of blood was transferred into the lamb during UCMwPR (8.8 mL/kg, IQR 8-10, P=0.01) but not during UCMwoPR (0 mL/kg, IQR -2.8 to 1.7) or PBCC (1.1 mL/kg, IQR -1.3 to 4.3). UCM had no effect on pulmonary blood flow, but caused large fluctuations in mean carotid artery pressures (MBP) and blood flows (CABF). In UCMwoPR and UCMwPR lambs, MBP increased by 12%±1% and 8%±1% and CABF increased by 32%±2% and 15%±2%, respectively, with each milk. Cerebral oxygenation decreased the least in PBCC lambs (17%, IQR 13-26) compared with UCMwoPR (26%, IQR 23-25, P=0.03), UCMwPR (35%, IQR 27-44, P=0.02) and immediate UCC (34%, IQR 28-41, P=0.02) lambs. Conclusions UCMwoPR failed to provide placental transfusion, and UCM strategies caused considerable haemodynamic disturbance. UCM does not provide the same physiological benefits of PBCC. Further review of UCM is warranted before adoption into routine clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)F539-F546
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Disease in Childhood: Fetal and Neonatal Edition
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018


  • delayed cord clamping
  • fetal medicine
  • neonatology
  • premature
  • umbilical cord milking

Cite this