Neonates with prolonged arterial line (AL)/central venous line (CVL) use have fewer skin breaks and have significantly larger thalamic volumes early in life compared with those with restricted line use, according to a study published online Oct. 21 in Neurology.
Emma G. Duerden, Ph.D., from the University of Toronto, and colleagues serially scanned two international cohorts of very preterm neonates (143 neonates) with prolonged or restricted use of AL/CVL with magnetic resonance imaging. The association between skin breaks and thalamic volumes was examined, while accounting for clinical confounders and site differences.
The researchers found that compared with restricted AL/CVL use, prolonged AL/CVL use in neonates was associated with fewer skin breaks. Compared with neonates with restricted line use, those with prolonged AL/CVL with fewer skin breaks had significantly larger thalamic volumes early in life. Preschool-age cognitive and motor scores were predicted by neonatal thalamic growth. There was no association seen for prolonged AL/CVL use and a greater incidence of sepsis or multiple infections.
“Babies born prematurely can have numerous health struggles, so if clinicians can reduce their pain during the first few weeks after they are born, this could possibly lead to improved brain development over time, with a potential to have a huge impact on their lives,” Duerden said in a statement.