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Randomized Controlled Trial of Kangaroo Care: Cardiorespiratory and Thermal Effects on Healthy Preterm Infants

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Purpose: To determine the safety and effects on healthy preterm infants of three continuous hours of kangaroo care (KC) compared to standard NICU care by measuring cardiorespiratory and thermal responses.

Design: Randomized controlled trial—pretest-test-posttest control group design.

Sample: Twenty-four healthy preterm infants (33–35 weeks gestation at birth) nearing discharge. Eleven of the infants received KC; 13 received standard NICU care.

Main Outcome Variables: Heart rate, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation, and abdominal skin temperature were manually recorded every minute. Apnea, bradycardia, periodic breathing, and regular breathing were captured continuously on a pneumocardiogram printout. Three consecutive interfeeding intervals (three hours each) on one day constituted the pretest, test, and posttest periods.

Results: Mean cardiorespiratory and temperature outcomes remained within clinically acceptable ranges during KC. Apnea, bradycardia, and periodic breathing were absent during KC. Regular breathing increased for infants receiving KC compared to infants receiving standard NICU care.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 2004

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