Trends in neonatal resuscitation patterns in Queensland, Australia: A 10-year retrospective cohort study

Priyanka Kapadia, Cameron Hurst, David Harley, Vicki Flenady, Trisha Johnston, Paul Bretz, Helen G. Liley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To describe the frequency of neonatal resuscitation interventions implemented for newborn babies in the state of Queensland over a 10-year period and determine if these changes suggest adherence to changes in Australian guidelines. 

Study design: A population-based retrospective cohort study utilising the Queensland Perinatal Data Collection dataset. All liveborn babies ≥23 + 0 weeks + days gestation born between 1 July 2007 and 30 June 2017 were included except those for whom resuscitation was not attempted and those babies <25 + 0 weeks for whom it was unsuccessful. Trends in resuscitation were demonstrated using Loess regression. 

Results: Of 618,589 eligible newborns,182,260 received any resuscitation manoeuvre (29.5%). The proportion receiving oxygen without assisted ventilation declined from 19.3% in 2007−08 to 5.6% in 2016−17. Upper airway suctioning also decreased. Assisted ventilation increased from 7.9% to 10.0% of all babies with the largest contribution from late preterm and term babies. The rate of endotracheal suctioning for meconium and the rate of narcotic antagonist use also declined. A greater proportion of babies received chest compressions (1.9–3.2 per 1000 babies) and adrenaline (epinephrine). Mortality decreased from 1.9 to 1.5 per 1000 babies in the cohort. 

Conclusion: Ten-year trends showed reduced use of oxygen or upper airway suctioning without assisted ventilation, reduced intubation to suction meconium, reduced use of narcotic antagonists and greater use of assisted ventilation suggesting appropriate practice change in response to Australian neonatal resuscitation guidelines. The increase in the use of chest compressions and adrenaline was unexpected and the reasons for it are unclear.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-132
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


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