© 2017 Katheria et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Background: The seventh edition of the American Academy of Pediatrics Neonatal Resuscitation Program recommends the use of a cardiac monitor in infants that need resuscitation. Previous trials have shown that EKG heart rate is available before pulse rate from a pulse oximeter. To date no trial has looked at how the availability of electrocardiogram (EKG) affects clinical interventions in the delivery room. Objective: To determine whether the availability of an EKG heart rate value and tracing to the clinical team has an effect on physiologic measures and related interventions during the stabilization of preterm infants. Design/Methods: Forty (40) premature infants enrolled in a neuro-monitoring study (The Neu-Prem Trial: NCT02605733) who had an EKG monitor available were randomized to have the heart rate information from the bedside EKG monitor either displayed or not displayed to the clinical team. Heart rate, oxygen saturation, FiO 2 and mean airway pressure from a data acquisition system were recorded every 2 seconds. Results were averaged over 30 seconds and the differences analyzed using two-tailed t-test. Interventions analyzed included time to first change in FiO 2 , first positive pressure ventilation, first increase in airway pressure, and first intubation. Results: There were no significant differences in time to clinical interventions between the blinded and unblinded group, despite the unblinded group having access to a visible heart rate at 66 +/- 20 compared to 114 +/- 39 seconds for the blinded group (p < .0001). Pulse rate from oximeter was lower than EKG heart rate during the first 2 minutes of life, but this was not significant. Conclusion(s): EKG provides an earlier, and more accurate heart rate than pulse rate from an oximeter during stabilization of preterm infants, allowing earlier intervention. All interventions were started earlier in the unblinded EKG group but these numbers were not significant in this small trial. Earlier EKG placement before pulse oximeter placement may affect other interventions, but this needs further study.
Katheria, A., Arnell, K., Brown, M., Hassen, K., Maldonado, M., Rich, W., & Finer, N. (2017). A pilot randomized controlled trial of EKG for neonatal resuscitation. PLoS ONE, 12(11). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0187730