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Delayed Clamping Reduces Anemia at 8, 12 Months of Age

Reduced risk of anemia at 8 and 12 months for infants at high risk of iron deficiency anemia

resting infant

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 18, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- For infants at high risk of iron deficiency anemia, delayed umbilical cord clamping reduces anemia at 8 and 12 months of age, according to a study published online Jan. 17 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Ashish KC, M.D., Ph.D., from Uppsala University in Sweden, and colleagues conducted a randomized clinical trial involving 540 late preterm and term infants born vaginally at a tertiary hospital in Nepal. Infants were randomized to delayed umbilical cord clamping (≥180 seconds after delivery) or early clamping (≤60 seconds after delivery) and underwent follow-up, including blood levels of hemoglobin and ferritin at 8 and 12 months of age.

The researchers found that infants undergoing delayed clamping had higher levels of hemoglobin after multiple imputation analysis (10.4 versus 10.2 g/dL). Delayed cord clamping also correlated with a reduction in the prevalence of anemia at 8 months (73.0 versus 82.2 percent; relative risk, 0.89; number needed to treat [NNT], 11). The delayed clamping group had a reduced risk for iron deficiency at 8 months (22.2 versus 38.1 percent; relative risk, 0.58; NNT, 6). Delayed cord clamping resulted in a 0.3 g/dL higher hemoglobin level, and a relative risk for anemia of 0.91, resulting in a NNT of 12 at 12 months.

"Delayed cord clamping reduces anemia at 8 and 12 months of age in a high-risk population, which may have major positive effects on infants' health and development," the authors write.

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