Noninvasive ventilation for preterm infants at birth has been recommended and universally adopted. The umbilical cord is often clamped immediately in order to provide the support the infant needs for stabilization. However, recent scientific data from experimental studies that involve animals in transition and human studies using physiological measurements at birth have increased awareness as to how little we know about how these interventions interact and integrate with the infant's changing physiology. It has become clear that in apneic infants the larynx is closed immediately after birth, which can completely negate the effect of noninvasive ventilation of the lung. For this reason, stimulating and supporting spontaneous breathing could enhance the success of noninvasive ventilation. Animal data also demonstrated that the large swings in blood pressure, blood flow, and oxygenation caused by immediate cord clamping can be avoided by postponing cord clamping until lung aeration has been established. In this review we will focus on these "game changers" that have the potential to completely change the approach used in stabilizing preterm infants at birth.
- Cord clamping