Background and aims Very low birth weight (VLBW) infants are extremely vulnerable and usually require central catheters and frequent blood tests. Our aim was to develop a protocol regarding umbilical catheter fixation and blood samples for VLBW during the first 72 h of life.
Methods A retrospective study was carried out by a multidisciplinary team describing the intervention variables in 10 VLBW admitted to our Unit. In parallel a bibliographic research was performed on the International data bases, answering our PICO questions. The population of the study was VLBW under 32 weeks of life and/or under 1.500 grams of weight. Interventions were catheter fixation, number, volume and speed of extraction and reinfusion during first 72 h.
Results Our population had a mean gestational age and birth weight of 30 weeks and 1200 grams. Our data showed a mean of 11 tests per patient during first 72 h of life, none using umbilical cord blood. Registration of velocity was not reported. After a literature review we designed a protocol of catheter fixation and blood samples for VLBW during first 72 h. The protocol included using cord blood for the first sampling and a description of adequate sample size and velocities.
Conclusions An evidence based practice leads to improve blood sampling in VLBW infants. Post intervention results are still to be measured.