CONTEXT

For many years the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation has recommended the use of tactile stimulation for initial management of infants born with inadequate respiratory effort at birth without systematically examining its effectiveness.

OBJECTIVE

Systematic review to compare the effectiveness of tactile stimulation with routine handling in newly born term and preterm infants.

DATA SOURCES

Medline, Embase, Cochrane CENTRAL, along with clinical trial registries.

STUDY SELECTION

Randomized and non-randomized studies were included based on predetermined criteria.

DATA EXTRACTION

Data were extracted independently by authors. Risk of Bias in Nonrandomized Studies of Interventions (ROBINS-I) was used to assess risk of bias in non-randomized studies. Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluations (GRADE) was used to assess the certainty of evidence.

RESULTS

Among 2455 unique articles identified, 2 observational studies were eligible and qualitatively summarized. Because one of the studies was at critical risk of bias, only the other study including 243 preterm infants on continuous positive airway pressure with clinical indications for tactile stimulation was analyzed. It showed a reduction in tracheal intubation in infants receiving tactile stimulation compared with no tactile stimulation (12 of 164 vs 14 of 79, risk ratio of 0.41 [95% confidence interval 0.20 to 0.85]); however, the certainty of evidence was very low.

LIMITATIONS

The available data were limited and only from observational studies.

CONCLUSIONS

A potential benefit of tactile stimulation was identified but was limited by the very low certainty of evidence. More research is suggested to evaluate the effectiveness as well as the optimal type and duration of tactile stimulation.

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