Umbilical cord management in preterm and term infants- SOCG/CPS release new guideline

Published On 2022-03-31 15:00 GMT   |   Update On 2022-03-31 15:34 GMT

Canada: A recent study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada, reports guidelines on umbilical cord management in preterm and term infants. The guideline was released jointly by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) and the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS). 

Sarah D. McDonald and the team developed the guideline with an objective to assess the impact of deferred (delayed) cord clamping (DCC) and umbilical cord milking in singleton and twin gestations on maternal and infant mortality and morbidity. 

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For this purpose, the researchers undertook searches of PubMed, Embase, Medline, and Cochrane Library from inception to March 2020 using Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) terms and keywords related to deferred cord clamping and umbilical cord milking. The document was a representation of an abstraction of the evidence rather than a methodological review. 

The authors note, for the ease of implementation, recommendations for preterm versus term infants have been kept distinct. As the preterm period progresses, the risks of prematurity decrease substantially, such that the absolute benefits of deferred (delayed) cord clamping also decrease. 

  • In both preterm (<37 weeks) and extremely preterm (<28 weeks) singletons, deferred (delayed) cord clamping is recommended for 60 to 120 seconds because it decreases newborn mortality and morbidity and improves hematological outcomes after the newborn period. When cord clamping cannot be deferred for a full 60 to 120 seconds, then deferred (delayed) cord clamping for at least 30 seconds is superior to immediate clamping. Deferred (delayed) cord clamping should be performed with the infant at or below the level of the introitus or at the level of the cesarean incision.
  • In term singletons, deferred (delayed) cord clamping is recommended for 60 seconds because it improves hematological outcomes at birth and past the newborn period. Deferred (delayed) cord clamping beyond 60 seconds increases the risk of hyperbilirubinemia requiring phototherapy. Deferred (delayed) cord clamping can be performed with the infant at or below the level of the introitus, or at the level of the cesarean incision, or on the mother's abdomen.
  • Stabilization or resuscitation with an intact cord for longer durations in preterm and term infants is feasible for centers with appropriate experience and equipment, although larger trials are needed to understand the benefits and risks.
  • for maintenance of temperature during deferred (delayed) cord clamping:
    • preterm infants should be placed in warm towels, medical-grade plastic bags, or medical-grade plastic wrap to maintain temperature.
    • term infants can be placed in warm towels or on the mother's abdomen.
  • In preterm twins, deferred (delayed) cord clamping is associated with some benefits and should be considered, except when contraindicated.
  • In term twins, deferred (delayed) cord clamping may be considered based on presumed extrapolation of benefits in term singletons, except when contraindicated.
  • The evidence regarding the optimal duration of deferred (delayed) cord clamping in twins is insufficient. Deferred (delayed) cord clamping for 30 to 60 seconds can be considered.
  • When deferred (delayed) cord clamping is performed, not delaying delivery of the second twin is recommended.
  • Uterotonic medications increase uterine tone to prevent postpartum hemorrhage:
    • In preterm pregnancies, due to concerns about a potential bolus of blood to preterm infants, it is recommended that intravenous uterotonic medications be administered after clamping the cord.
    • In term pregnancies, with lower risk for bolus effects of blood, lower benefits of deferred cord clamping, and higher risk for maternal postpartum hemorrhage, it is recommended that intravenous uterotonic medications be administered with the delivery of the anterior shoulder of the final infant.
    • Absolute contraindications to deferred (delayed) cord clamping are few and include (but are not limited to) fetal hydrops, the need for immediate resuscitation of mother or infant (except in centers with appropriate experience and equipment), disrupted uteroplacental circulation (e.g., bleeding vasa previas), and known twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome or twin anemia polycythemia sequence.
    • Relative contraindications to deferred (delayed) cord clamping are few but include (in term infants) risk factors for significant hyperbilirubinemia (e.g., significant polycythemia, severe intrauterine growth restriction, pregestational diabetes), and cases where maternal antibody titers are high or when the first infant in a pair of monochorionic twins is delivered. In all these circumstances, immediate cord clamping should be considered.
    • Cautions regarding deferred (delayed) cord clamping are few but include (in preterm infants) risk factors for significant hyperbilirubinemia (e.g., significant polycythemia, severe intrauterine growth restriction, and cases where maternal antibody titers are high or when the first infant in a pair of monochorionic twins is delivered. In all these circumstances, discussion with the newborn's care providers regarding benefits and risks and the duration of deferred (delayed) cord clamping is encouraged. The infant's gestational age should be taken into account, with consideration of deferral for 30 seconds.
    • Umbilical cord milking is not recommended in very preterm infants <32 weeks, due to the increased risk for severe intraventricular hemorrhage.
    • In preterm and term infants, deferred (delayed) cord clamping should be performed instead of umbilical cord milking.

KEYWORDS: umbilical cord, umbilical cord blood, ligation, parturition, time factors, term birth, infant, premature, jaundice, neonatal, preterm, cord clamping, milking, infant mortality, infant morbidity, Sarah D. McDonald, Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, Canadian Paediatric Society 

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Article Source : Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada

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