What is it about?

Infants in the NICU provided continuous airway pressure to help them breathe often get an enlarged belly from air that enters their stomach rather than their lungs. The side effects of this could effect their muscle development. As used in other populations that need support of their abdominal muscles to breathe well, these cases explore the use of abdominal support in neonates to maintain their muscle integrity.

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Why is it important?

Air in the stomach and bowel can cause distension which inhibits breathing resulting in need for increased respiratory support or escalation in care. Addressing and potentially preventing this could optimize respiratory support for infants in intensive care without need for escalation in support.


Writing this article was the result of years of working with these infants and hoping to minimize the side effects of CPAP. While much work remains to be done, I hope that getting this information to a wider audience will support progress towards aiding these infants to breathe comfortably and easily and minimize side effects which may extend to digestion and later movement development. It is a very important topic that I think deserves more thought and exploration.

Virginia McGill
Providence Alaska Children’s Hospital

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Neonatal abdominal support to address CPAP belly: Two cases report and literature review, Journal of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, December 2022, IOS Press, DOI: 10.3233/npm-221047.
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