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Reducing Brain Injury of Preterm Infants in the Delivery Room

Viaroli F, Cheung PY, O'Reilly M, Polglase GR, Pichler G, Schmölzer GM. Reducing Brain Injury of Preterm Infants in the Delivery Room. Front Pediatr. 2018;6:290. Published 2018 Oct 16. doi:10.3389/fped.2018.00290


Cerebrovascular injury is one of the major detrimental consequences of preterm birth. Recent studies have focused their attention on factors that contribute to the development of brain lesions immediately after birth. Among those factors, hypothermia and lower cerebral oxygen saturation during delivery room resuscitation and high tidal volumes delivered during respiratory support are associated with increased risk of severe neurologic injury. In preterm infants, knowledge about causes and prevention of brain injury must be applied before and at birth. Preventive and therapeutic approaches, including correct timing of cord clamping, monitoring of physiological changes during delivery room resuscitation using pulse oximetry, respiratory function monitoring, near infrared spectroscopy, and alpha EEG, may minimize brain injury, Furthermore, postnatal administration of caffeine or other potential novel treatments (e.g., proangiogenic therapies, antioxidants, hormones, or stem cells) might improve long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes in preterm infants.