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Keywords:

  • Endotracheal suctioning;
  • preterm infants;
  • developmental care

ABSTRACT

Objective

To evaluate the effect of four-handed care on preterm infants’ physiologic and behavioral responses to and recovery from endotracheal suctioning versus routine endotracheal (ETT) suctioning.

Design

Randomized crossover design with infants as their own controls.

Setting

Single-family-room newborn intensive care unit in an academic health center.

Participants

Ten intubated infants on conventional ventilation with inline suctioning who were fewer than 37 weeks gestation at birth, and less than one week of age.

Methods

Each infant was observed twice on a single day. One observation involved routine ETT suctioning and one involved four-handed care. Physiologic and behavioral response data were collected.

Results

No differences were noted when comparing baseline heart rate (HR) or oxygen saturation (SpO2) data to those obtained during and after suctioning while in the routine care condition. In the four-handed care condition, mean SpO2 increased from preobservation 95.49 to during observation saturation 97.75 (p = .001). Salivary cortisol levels did not differ between groups at baseline or postsuctioning. No significant difference in behavior state was observed between the two conditions. More stress and defense behaviors occurred postsuctioning when infants received routine care as opposed to four-handed care (p = .001) and more self-regulatory behaviors were exhibited by infants during (p = .019) and after suctioning (p = .016) when receiving four-handed care. No statistical difference was found in the number of monitor call-backs postsuctioning.

Conclusions

Four-handed care during suctioning was associated with a decrease in stress and defense behaviors and an increase in self-regulatory behaviors.