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Pediatrics. 2009 Jul;124(1):422-7. doi: 10.1542/peds.2009-1060.

Clinical report--Antenatal counseling regarding resuscitation at an extremely low gestational age.


The anticipated delivery of an extremely low gestational age infant raises difficult questions for all involved, including whether to initiate resuscitation after delivery. Each institution caring for women at risk of delivering extremely preterm infants should provide comprehensive and consistent guidelines for antenatal counseling. Parents should be provided the most accurate prognosis possible on the basis of all the factors known to affect outcome for a particular case. Although it is not feasible to have specific criteria for when the initiation of resuscitation should or should not be offered, the following general guidelines are suggested. If the physicians involved believe there is no chance for survival, resuscitation is not indicated and should not be initiated. When a good outcome is considered very unlikely, the parents should be given the choice of whether resuscitation should be initiated, and clinicians should respect their preference. Finally, if a good outcome is considered reasonably likely, clinicians should initiate resuscitation and, together with the parents, continually reevaluate whether intensive care should be continued. Whenever resuscitation is considered an option, a qualified individual, preferably a neonatologist, should be involved and should be present in the delivery room to manage this complex situation. Comfort care should be provided for all infants for whom resuscitation is not initiated or is not successful.

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