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Neonatology. 2008;93(2):138-44. Epub 2007 Sep 21.

A systematic review and meta-analysis of a brief delay in clamping the umbilical cord of preterm infants.

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Department of Neonatology, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals, Brighton, UK.



The optimal timing of clamping the umbilical cord in preterm infants at birth is the subject of continuing debate.


To investigate the effects of a brief delay in cord clamping on the outcome of babies born prematurely.


A retrospective meta-analysis of randomised trials in preterm infants was conducted. Data were collected from published studies identified by a structured literature search in EMBASE, PubMed, CINAHL and the Cochrane Library. All infants born below 37 weeks gestation and enrolled into a randomised study of delayed cord clamping (30 s or more) versus immediate cord clamping (less than 20 s) after birth were included. Systematic search and analysis of the data were done according to the methodology of the Cochrane collaboration.


Ten studies describing a total of 454 preterm infants were identified which met the inclusion and assessment criteria. Major benefits of the intervention were higher circulating blood volume during the first 24 h of life, less need for blood transfusions (p = 0.004) and less incidence of intraventricular hemorrhage (p = 0.002).


The procedure of a delayed cord clamping time of at least 30 s is safe to use and does not compromise the preterm infant in the initial post-partum adaptation phase.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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