Delivery room management of extremely low birthweight infants shows marked geographical variations in Italy

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Aim:To evaluate any geographical variations in practice and adherence to international guidelines for early delivery room management of extremely low birthweight (ELBW) infants in the North, Centre and South of Italy.Methods:A questionnaire was sent to all 107 directors of Italian level III centres between April and August 2012.Results:There was a 92% (n = 98) response rate. A polyethylene bag/wrap was used by 54 centres (55.1%), with the highest rate in Northern Italy (77.5%) and the lowest rate in Southern (37.7%) areas. In Northern regions, one centre (2.5%) said it used oxygen concentrations >40% to initiate positive pressure ventilation in ELBW infants. These proportions were higher in the Central (14.3%) and Southern (16.2%) areas. A T-piece device for positive pressure ventilation was more frequently available in the Northern (95%) units than in those in the Central (66.7%) and Southern (69.4%) regions. A median of 13% (IQR: 5%–30%) of ELBW infants received chest compressions at birth in Italy: 5%, 18% and 22% in Northern, Central and Southern units, respectively.Conclusion:In Italy, delivery room management of ELBW infants showed marked geographical variations. Implementation of national training programmes could increase adherence to the guidelines and reduce such discordance.

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