Benefits of delayed cord clamping
Recognising the growing wealth of evidence in support of the practice of delayed cord clamping (DCC) senior clinical staff at Wansbeck Hospital in Northumberland have already implemented the practice wherever possible.
They had recognised that the need to resuscitate can present a dilemma in deciding when to clamp the cord in some of the most vulnerable newborn babies, paradoxically the very patients who stand to benefit most from DCC. Following an evaluation of Inditherm’s LifeStart system in the existing maternity unit, the team opted to equip all the high-risk delivery rooms with new LifeStart systems, providing state-of-the-art facilities in this new specialist hospital.
Delayed cord clamping allows the newborn infant to continue to benefit from the continued supply of oxygenated placental blood until spontaneous breathing is established. This placental transfusion can account for 30 per cent of the newborn’s blood volume. There is clear published evidence that DCC can also help to avoid serious complications during the baby’s respiratory and cardiac function transition period. The benefits of DCC are particularly important in the most vulnerable premature deliveries.
Delayed cord clamping has been a challenge to implement in practice largely because no suitable resuscitation equipment existed that could be positioned close enough to place a baby while the umbilical cord is still attached. Conventionally, if the infant needs urgent life-critical intervention then the umbilical cord will be clamped and cut immediately and the baby transferred to a resuscitation station remote from the mother, and sometimes in another room.
The design of the LifeStart is such that all the equipment essential for the resuscitation of the baby can be positioned very close to the delivery bed. This means that the cord can remain intact for those vital first few minutes during emergency resuscitation.
Nine LifeStart neonatal resuscitation units were delivered to the new Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital (NSECH) in Cramlington, for its summer opening. This new unit will transfer all the existing maternity services from Wansbeck Hospital.
Inditherm chief executive Nick Bettles said “In choosing LifeStart, NSECH are setting a benchmark for maternity and neonatal care. We are very pleased that the Trust recognises that resuscitation with the cord intact is now possible using the LifeStart system. We hope that as other centres see that LifeStart makes DCC practical for all patients, particularly those most at risk, they will follow the lead being set here. There is little doubt, given all the evidence of the benefits of delayed cord clamping, this gives the highest standard of care possible.”