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Pediatrics. 2008 Jun;121(6):1106-10. doi: 10.1542/peds.2007-1869.

Attitudes of neonatologists toward delivery room management of confirmed trisomy 18: potential factors influencing a changing dynamic.

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  • 1Division of Newborn Medicine, Weill-Cornell School of Medicine, New York Presbyterian Hospital, 525 East 68th St, Suite N-506, New York, NY 10021, USA.



The objective of this study was to determine the attitude of neonatal providers toward delivery room resuscitation of an infant with confirmed trisomy 18 with known congenital heart disease at >/=36 weeks of gestation.


A multiple-choice questionnaire listing this clinical scenario was completed by neonatologists and fellows staffing level III NICUs. Potential factors influencing the decision to initiate resuscitation included maternal preference, neonatal condition at birth, obstetric care, and legal concerns.


Fifty-four (76%) of 71 surveys were completed. Of respondents, 44% indicated that they would be willing to initiate resuscitation. Maternal preference (70%) was the primary reason to initiate resuscitation, with the appearance of the neonate in the delivery room (46%) and legal concerns (25%) as additional factors.


Until recently, there was universal consensus that trisomy 18 was a lethal anomaly for which resuscitation in the delivery room was not indicated. These data indicate that more providers (44%) than anticipated would consider initiation of resuscitation for an infant with trisomy 18 even with congenital heart disease. We speculate that support for the best-interest standard for neonates is diminishing in favor of ceding without question to parental autonomy. This shift may have profound implications for ethical decisions in the NICU.

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