Extreme preterm infants face lengthy hospitalizations and are often subjected to painful stimuli. These stimuli may be related to routine caregiving that may negatively impact long-term developmental outcomes. Frequently obtained cuff blood pressure (BP) measurements are an example of a potentially noxious stimulus to preterm infants that may have a cumulating impact on development.
The primary aim was to explore the frequency of cuff BP measurements obtained in hemodynamically stable extreme preterm infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Our secondary aim was to reduce the number of cuff BP measurements obtained in hemodynamically stable extreme preterm infants in the NICU.
Quality improvement methodologies per the Institute for Healthcare Improvement were used combined with a multidisciplinary approach. Participants were infants born less than 27 weeks of gestation and discharged home. The baseline period was 2015 through Q2-2018 and the intervention period was Q3-2018 through Q1-2020. The electronic medical record was used to collect data and Minitab Statistical Software was used for data analysis.
A baseline of 5.0% of eligible patients received the desired number of cuff BP measurements and increased to 63.2% after the intervention period.
Implications for Practice:
Findings demonstrate that using quality improvement methodology can improve clinical care. Findings suggest the feasibility and safety of reducing the number of cuff BP measurements obtained on hemodynamically stable infants in the NICU.
Implications for Research:
Future endeavors should aim to reduce the quantity of painful stimuli in the NICU. Long-term developmental outcomes should be correlated in these patients.