How to assess hemodynamic status in very preterm newborns in the first week of life?

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Assessing hemodynamic status in preterm newborns is an essential task, as many studies have shown increased morbidity when hemodynamic parameters are abnormal. Although oscillometric monitoring of arterial blood pressure (BP) is widely used due to its simplicity and lack of side effects, these values are not always correlated with microcirculation and oxygen delivery.


This review focuses on different tools for the assessment of hemodynamic status in preterm newborns. These include the measurement of clinical (BP, capillary refill time and urinary output (UO)) or biological parameters (lactate analysis), functional echocardiography, and near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS). We describe the concepts and techniques involved in these tools in detail, and examine the interest and limitations of each type of assessment.


This review highlights the complementarities between the different parameters used to assess hemodynamic status in preterm newborns during the first week of life. The analysis of arterial BP measured by oscillometric monitoring must take into account other clinical data, in particular capillary refill time and UO, and biological data such as lactate levels. Echocardiography improves noninvasive hemodynamic management in newborns but requires specific training. In contrast, NIRS may be useful in monitoring the clinical course of infants at risk of, or presenting with, hypotension. It holds the potential for early and noninvasive identification of silent hypoperfusion in critically ill preterm infants. However, more data are needed to confirm the usefulness of this promising tool in significantly changing the outcome of these infants.

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