Selective tracheal suctioning to prevent meconium aspiration syndrome

A M Al Takroni, C K Parvathi, K B Mendis, S Hassan, I Reddy, H A Kudair
International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics 1998, 63 (3): 259-63

OBJECTIVE: To analyze the incidence and outcome of meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS) at Al-Yamamah Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where meconium-stained babies have intrapartum obstetrical cleansing of the upper airways, following which depressed/asphyxiated babies are intubated and vigorous babies are observed for 24 h.

METHOD: The total live births, records of meconium-stained neonates who had intubations and of those observed, during a 6-year period were reviewed.

RESULTS: During this period, there were 85562 live births. One in 325 births (0.27%) was complicated by MAS and the mortality rate was 7%. These figures concur with the reported incidence and mortality of MAS following routine combined obstetric-pediatric suction of airways at birth. Of the 265 cases of MAS that occurred during this period, 237 were in the intubated group and 28 in the observed group. The babies of the former group had severe disease compared with that of the latter. All mortality was from the intubated group.

CONCLUSION: Adequate obstetrical cleansing of the upper airway in vigorous babies may obviate the need for endotracheal intubation; intubation of depressed babies following this treatment may be useful.

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