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Earlier Weaning of Preterm Infants From Incubator Is Safe

Earlier transition to open crib in moderately preterm babies linked to earlier hospital discharge

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Transitioning moderately preterm infants from incubators to open cribs when the infants weigh as little as 1,600 g is safe and associated with earlier hospital discharge, according to a study published online Aug. 9 in Pediatrics.

In a prospective, randomized study, Enrico Zecca, M.D., of Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome, and colleagues evaluated 47 infants transferred from an incubator to an open crib at >1,600 g (early-transition group) and compared them to 47 infants who were transferred from an incubator to an open crib at >1,800 g (standard-transition group).

The researchers found that the length of stay (LOS) was 23.5 days in the early-transition group compared to 33 days in the standard-transition group. While no infants required transfer back to the incubator, one infant in the standard-transition group required readmission to the hospital during the first week after hospital discharge. Growth velocities and individual breast-feeding amounts were similar in the two groups.

"This study demonstrated that a policy of weaning moderately preterm infants from incubators at a body weight of 1,600 g versus 1,800 g was safe and reduced the average LOS by 9.5 days," the authors write. "The time spent in an open crib after weaning from the incubator was the same in the two groups, which suggests that the reduction in LOS was attributable to the early weaning protocol."

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