Objective To describe the opinions of paediatricians who teach resuscitation in Brazil regarding resuscitation practices in the delivery room (DR) of preterm infants with gestational ages of 23–26 weeks.
Methods Cross-sectional study with an internationally validated electronic questionnaire (December 2011–September 2013) sent to the instructors of the Neonatal Resuscitation Program of the Brazilian Society of Paediatrics on parental counselling practices, medical limits for resuscitation of extremely preterm infants and medical considerations for decision-making in this group of infants. The analysis was descriptive.
Results Among 685 instructors, 560 (82%) agreed to participate. Only 5%–13% reported having opportunity for antenatal counselling parents: if called, 22% reported discussing with the family about the possibility not to resuscitate in the DR; 63% about the possibility of death in the DR and 89% about the possibility of death in the neonatal unit. If the parents did not agree with the advice of the paediatrician, 30%–50% of the respondents would follow the procedures they advised regardless of the opinion of the parents. The higher the gestational age, the lower is the percentage of paediatricians who believed that parents should participate in decision-making. Only 9% participants reported the existence of written guidelines at their hospital on initiation of resuscitation in the DR at limits of viability, but 80% paediatricians reported using some criteria for limiting resuscitation in the DR.
Conclusion The picture obtained in this study of Brazilian paediatricians indicates that resuscitation of extremely preterm infants is permeated by ambivalence and contradictions.
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