UCC Scientists Develop Innovative Strategies to Boost Preterm Baby Survival Rates
Advancing Neonatal Care for Improved Preterm Baby Outcomes
Groundbreaking insights from the University College Cork (UCC) have unveiled a potentially life-saving technique for preterm infants. Delayed umbilical cord clamping may significantly boost survival rates for those born before completing the 37-week gestation period.
Preterm births are a global health concern, with figures from the UN and WHO indicating that in 2020, out of 13.4 million premature babies, almost a million succumbed to related complications. Such challenges have been deemed a largely "silent emergency" due to insufficient acknowledgment of their critical nature.
Highlighted within the influential pages of The Lancet, UCC's Irish Centre for Maternal and Child Health Research (Infant) collaboratively points towards a protocol shift in neonatal care. Postponing the clamping of the umbilical cord for at least two minutes post-delivery could reduce the mortality risk of these vulnerable infants by a remarkable two-thirds in comparison to immediate cord clamping.
Factual Support Through Extensive Research
Analyzing data across 47 clinical trials with participation from 6,094 infants, the researchers correlated the timing of clamping with subsequent health outcomes. It emerged that not only is delayed clamping associated with survival, but also it displayed a 91% likelihood of being the most effective preventive measure against postnatal death.
The bold declaration stems from the statistical evidence which positions immediate clamping at less than a 1% probability of being considered beneficial in preventing mortality among premature newborns.
Local Contributions to Global Discoveries
Contributing to these monumental findings were two pivotal trials from Cork University Maternity Hospital. Lead investigator, Prof Eugene Dempsey, revisited traditional practices and affirmed the necessity of evolving such protocols for preterm delivery. He emphasized the overwhelming advantages of deferred cord clamping, urging its adoption barring exceptional cases.
Prof Geraldine Boylan, Director of Infant at UCC, further validated the significance of international research collaboration. The outcomes published are a testimony to how meticulously executed clinical trials can revolutionize neonatal health practices, creating a profound impact on the survival of preterm babies.
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