Affiliations: College of Nursing, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), AR, USA | Department of Physical Therapy, University of Central Arkansas, AR, USA | Center for Translational Neuroscience, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, AR, USA | Department of Biostatistics, College of Medicine, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, AR, USA | Department of Pediatrics and Neonatology, College of Medicine, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, AR, USA
Note:  Corresponding author: Dr. Anita J. Mitchell, College of Nursing, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), 4301 West Markham, Slot 529, Little Rock, AR 72205, USA. Tel.: +1 501 266 1551; Fax: +1 501 686 8350; E-mail: AMitchell@uams.edu
Abstract: BACKGROUND/AIMS: Kangaroo care (KC) has possible benefits for promoting physiological stability and positive developmental outcomes in preterm infants. The purpose of this study was to compare bradycardia and oxygen desaturation events in preterm infants in standard incubator care versus KC. METHODS: Thirty-eight infants 27 to 30 weeks gestational age were randomly assigned to 2 hours of KC daily between days of life 5 to 10 or to standard incubator care. Infants were monitored for bradycardia (heart rate <80) or oxygen desaturation (<80%). Analysis of hourly events was based on three sets of data: standard care group 24 hours daily, KC group during incubator time 22 hours daily, and KC group during holding time 2 hours daily. RESULTS: The KC group had fewer bradycardia events per hour while being held compared to time spent in an incubator (p = 0.048). The KC group also had significantly fewer oxygen desaturation events while being held than while in the incubator (p = 0.017) and significantly fewer desaturation events than infants in standard care (p = 0.02). Conclusion: KC reduces bradycardia and oxygen desaturation events in preterm infants, providing physiological stability and possible benefits for neurodevelopmental outcomes.
Keywords: Infant, premature, kangaroo care, bradycardia, oxygen desaturation