Use of Placental/Umbilical Blood Sampling for Neonatal Admission Blood Cultures: Benefits, Challenges, and Strategies for Implementation

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Placental blood remains an underused resource for early neonatal care despite ample evidence that placental blood provides the same clinical decision making information without the need for painful, invasive blood sampling procedures. Potential benefits of placental/umbilical blood sampling (PUBS) for neonatal admission labs include decreases in pain reactivity, rates of anemia, need for blood transfusions, use of vasopressors, and rates of intraventricular hemorrhage. Here, we present a unique case study of a critically ill infant with contradictory blood culture results from PUBS and direct infant sampling. A negative admission direct sample blood culture result compared with a positive admission PUBS blood culture result suggests that infection may have been missed in the direct infant sample. Relevant placental embryology and circulation is also described, as well as the benefits of PUBS for neonatal admission labs (with focus on the blood culture), challenges associated with PUBS practice, and strategies for implementation of PUBS.

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