‘Kangaroo mother care’ to prevent neonatal deaths due to preterm birth complications

Saving Newborn Lives/Save the Children-USA, Cape Town, South Africa.
International Journal of Epidemiology (Impact Factor: 9.2). 04/2010; 39 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):i144-54. DOI: 10.1093/ije/dyq031
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT 'Kangaroo mother care' (KMC) includes thermal care through continuous skin-to-skin contact, support for exclusive breastfeeding or other appropriate feeding, and early recognition/response to illness. Whilst increasingly accepted in both high- and low-income countries, a Cochrane review (2003) did not find evidence of KMC's mortality benefit, and did not report neonatal-specific data.
The objectives of this study were to review the evidence, and estimate the effect of KMC on neonatal mortality due to complications of preterm birth.
We conducted systematic reviews. Standardized abstraction tables were used and study quality assessed by adapted GRADE methodology. Meta-analyses were undertaken.
We identified 15 studies reporting mortality and/or morbidity outcomes including nine randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and six observational studies all from low- or middle-income settings. Except one, all were hospital-based and included only babies of birth-weight <2000 g (assumed preterm). The one community-based trial had missing birthweight data, as well as other limitations and was excluded. Neonatal-specific data were supplied by two authors. Meta-analysis of three RCTs commencing KMC in the first week of life showed a significant reduction in neonatal mortality [relative risk (RR) 0.49, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.29-0.82] compared with standard care. A meta-analysis of three observational studies also suggested significant mortality benefit (RR 0.68, 95% CI 0.58-0.79). Five RCTs suggested significant reductions in serious morbidity for babies <2000 g (RR 0.34, 95% CI 0.17-0.65).
This is the first published meta-analysis showing that KMC substantially reduces neonatal mortality amongst preterm babies (birth weight <2000 g) in hospital, and is highly effective in reducing severe morbidity, particularly from infection. However, KMC remains unavailable at-scale in most low-income countries.


Available from: Bernardo Horta, May 04, 2015
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    ABSTRACT: State-of-the-art Newborn Intensive Care Units (NICUs), instrumental in the survival of high-risk and ever-earlier-born preterm infants, often have costly human repercussions. The developmental sequelae of newborn intensive care are largely misunderstood. Developed countries eager to export their technologies must also transfer the knowledge-base that encompasses all high-risk and preterm infants' personhood as well as the neuro-essential importance of their parents. Without such understanding, the best medical care, while assuring survival jeopardizes infants' long-term potential and deprives parents of their critical role. Exchanging the womb for the NICU environment at a time of rapid brain growth compromises preterm infants' early development, which results in long-term physical and mental health problems and developmental disabilities. The Newborn Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program (NIDCAP) aims to prevent the iatrogenic sequelae of intensive care and to maintain the intimate connection between parent and infant, one expression of which is Kangaroo Mother Care. NIDCAP embeds the infant in the natural parent niche, avoids over-stimulation, stress, pain, and isolation while it supports self-regulation, competence, and goal orientation. Research demonstrates that NIDCAP improves brain development, functional competence, health, and life quality. It is cost effective, humane, and ethical, and promises to become the standard for all NICU care.
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