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J Perinatol. 2013 Jan;33(1):59-64. doi: 10.1038/jp.2012.47. Epub 2012 Apr 26.

The effect of massage on heart rate variability in preterm infants.

Author information

1
School of Nursing, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40202, USA. slsmit51@louisville.edu

Erratum in

  • J Perinatol. 2013 Mar;33(3):250. Beechy, J [corrected to Beachy, J].

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To test the hypothesis that massage would improve autonomic nervous system (ANS) function as measured by heart rate variability (HRV) in preterm infants.

STUDY DESIGN:

Medically stable, 29- to 32-week preterm infants (17 massage, 20 control) were enrolled in a masked, randomized longitudinal study. Licensed massage therapists provided the massage or control condition twice a day for 4 weeks. Weekly HRV, a measure of ANS development and function, was analyzed using SPSS generalized estimating equations.

RESULTS:

Infant characteristics were similar between groups. HRV improved in massaged infants but not in the control infants (P<0.05). Massaged males had a greater improvement in HRV than females (P<0.05). HRV in massaged infants was on a trajectory comparable to term-born infants by study completion.

CONCLUSION:

Massage-improved HRV in a homogeneous sample of hospitalized, medically stable, preterm male infants and may improve infant response to exogenous stressors. We speculate that massage improves ANS function in these infants.

PMID:
22538325
PMCID:
PMC3531576
DOI:
10.1038/jp.2012.47
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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