ABSTRACT Aim: To assess the need for and quality of neonatal transports. Material and methods: Prospective observational study of consecutive transports from a level II neonatal unit. Results: 500 transports were undertaken 1982-2010 in 445 patients, representing 0.7% of liveborn infants (n = 61 450). Indications were congenital malformations in 223 (45%), prematurity/respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) in 87 (17%), and other conditions in 190 (38%). For patients ventilated during transport (n = 121) mean pCO2 was improved at arrival, and for spontaneously breathing patients mean pH, pCO2, and base excess (p < 0.05). After establishing a local respirator programme from 1989, transports for prematurity/RDS declined from 3.4 per 1000 live born infants in 1982-88 to 0.8 per 1 000 in 1989-2010 (p < 0.0001), and night-time transports (departure between 22.00 pm - 06.00 am) declined from 24/119 (20%) to 38/381 (10%) (p = 0.003). Technical mishaps or severe clinical deterioration occurred in 16 (3%) of the transports. Conclusions: Neonatal transport carries risks, but also an opportunity for further stabilization and improvement. A local respirator programme reduced the need for transfer of premature infants with RDS as well as for transports during night-time.
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