Review Article

Less is More: Modern Neonatology

Amir Kugelman, Liron Borenstein-Levin, Huda Jubran, Gil Dinur, Shlomit Ben-David, Elena Segal, Julie Haddad, Fanny Timstut, Iris Stein, Imad R. Makhoul, and Ori Hochwald


Iatrogenesis is more common in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) because the infants are vulnerable and exposed to prolonged intensive care. Sixty percent of extremely low-birth-weight infants are exposed to iatrogenesis. The risk factors for iatrogenesis in NICUs include prematurity, mechanical or non-invasive ventilation, central lines, and prolonged length of stay. This led to the notion that “less is more.” In the delivery room delayed cord clamping is recommended for term and preterm infants, and suction for the airways in newborns with meconium-stained fluid is not performed anymore. As a symbol for a less aggressive attitude we use the term neonatal stabilization rather than resuscitation. Lower levels of oxygen saturations are accepted as normal during the first 10 minutes of life, and if respiratory assistance is needed, we no longer use 100% oxygen but 0.21–0.3 FiO2, depending on gestational age and the level of oxygen saturation. We try to avoid endotracheal ventilation by using non-invasive respiratory support and administering continuous positive airway pressure early on, starting in the delivery room. If surfactant is needed, non-invasive methods of surfactant administration are utilized. Use of central lines is shortened, and early feeding of human milk is the routine. Permissive hypercapnia is allowed, and continuous non-invasive monitoring not only of the O2 but also of CO2 is warranted. “Kangaroo care” and Newborn Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program (NIDCAP) together with a calm atmosphere with parental involvement are encouraged. Whether “less is more,” or not enough, is to be seen in future studies.

Rambam Maimonides Med J 2018;9(3):e0023