Department of Neonatology, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Department of Pediatrics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Department of Pediatrics, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Department of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
IMPORTANCE It is unclear which umbilical cord management strategy is the best for preventing mortality and morbidities in preterm infants. OBJECTIVE To systematically review and conduct a network meta-analysis comparing 4 umbilical cord management strategies for preterm infants: immediate umbilical cord clamping (ICC), delayed umbilical cord clamping (DCC), umbilical cord milking (UCM), and UCM and DCC. DATA SOURCES PubMed, Embase,
CINAHL, and Cochrane CENTRAL databases were searched from inception until September 11, 2020. STUDY SELECTION Randomized clinical trials comparing different umbilical cord management strategies for preterm infants were included. DATA EXTRACTION AND SYNTHESIS Data were extracted for bayesian random-effects meta-analysis to estimate the relative treatment effects (odds ratios [OR] and 95% credible intervals [CrI]) and surface under the cumulative ranking curve values. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES The primary outcome was predischarge mortality. The secondary outcomes were intraventricular hemorrhage, severe intraventricular hemorrhage, need for packed red blood cell transfusion, and other neonatal morbidities. Confidence in network meta-analysis software was used to assess the quality of evidence and grade outcomes. RESULTS Fifty-six studies enrolled 6852 preterm infants. Compared with ICC, DCC was associated with lower odds of mortality (22 trials, 3083 participants; 7.6% vs 5.0%; OR, 0.64; 95% CrI, 0.39-0.99), intraventricular hemorrhage (25 trials, 3316 participants; 17.8% vs 15.4%; OR, 0.73; 95% CrI, 0.54-0.97), and need for packed red blood cell transfusion (18 trials, 2904 participants; 46.9% vs 38.3%; OR, 0.48; 95% CrI, 0.32-0.66). Compared with ICC, UCM was associated with lower odds of intraventricular hemorrhage (10 trials, 645 participants; 22.5% vs 16.2%; OR, 0.58; 95% CrI, 0.38-0.84) and need for packed red blood cell transfusion (9 trials, 688 participants; 47.3% vs 32.3%; OR, 0.36; 95% CrI, 0.23-0.53), with no significant differences for other secondary outcomes. There was no significant difference between UCM and DCC for any outcome. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Compared with ICC, DCC was associated with the lower odds of mortality in preterm infants. Compared with ICC, DCC and UCM were associated with reductions in intraventricular hemorrhage and need for packed red cell transfusion. There was no significant difference between UCM and DCC for any outcome. Further studies directly comparing DCC and UCM are needed.