Impact of umbilical catheterization on morbidity and mortality in extremely premature newborns

Abstract. OBJECTIVE: Investigate the benefit of umbilical catheterization upon survival and selected morbidities in extremely premature newborns (<28 weeks gestation). Outcomes of successfully catheterized extremely premature newborns are compared with others who cannot be successfully catheterized, and we hypothesize that umbilical catheterization promotes survival and reduces morbidities. STUDY DESIGN: Utilizing a retrospective, cohort study design, survival and outcomes of catheterized and non-catheterized newborns (n = 722) were compared by univariate and multiple logistic regression analyses. RESULTS: Of all newborns, 66.8% had both umbilical arterial catheter (UAC) and umbilical venous catheter (UVC) placements, 15.0% had only UAC, 13.7% had only UVC, and 4.6% had neither. Overall survival was 82.5%. Survivals with and without UAC were 82.5% and 82.6% (NS), but survival with UVC was 80.7% versus 90.1% without UVC (p = 0.012). Analysis of risk factors associated with death during umbilical catheterization reaffirmed that death remained significantly dependent upon UVC placement (OR = 35.7; 95% CI: 3.7–347.3, p = 0.002). CONCLUSION: Successful umbilical catheterization of extremely premature newborns does not provide benefit through promotion of survival or reduction of morbidities when compared to others who are not successfully catheterized at the umbilicus

*Corresponding Author: 

Dr. David G. Oelberg, Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters, Neonatal Medicine, 601 Children’s Lane, Norfolk, VA 23507, USA. Tel.: +1 757 668 7456; Fax: +1 757 668 9255; E-mail: