Aim: To compare the short-term clinical outcomes of Newborn Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program (NIDCAP®) and conventional care. Methods: A prospective phase-lag cohort study was performed in a Dutch tertiary level neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Infants born before 30 weeks of gestational age (GA) were included, 26 in the conventional and 25 in the NIDCAP group. Outcomes were respiratory status, cerebral ultrasound findings, growth and length of NICU stay. Results: At study entry, NIDCAP infants had a lower birth weight (mean [SD]: 1043 [191] vs. 1154 [174] g, p = 0.044), were more often small for GA (8 vs. 2, p = 0.038), had smaller head circumferences (mean [SD]: 25.1 [1.3] vs. 26.1 [1.8] cm, p = 0.041) and were less often multiples (6 vs. 14, p = 0.029) than conventional care infants. During NICU stay, more infants in the NIDCAP group developed pneumonia (9 vs. 3, p = 0.040) due to nosocomial infections. After adjustment for these differences, a decreased risk for more severe cerebral damage in favour of NIDCAP was seen (Odds ratio: 0.12, 95% CI: 0.03-0.46, p = 0.002). No differences were observed for the other outcomes. Conclusions: We conclude with precaution that in this phase-lag cohort study NIDCAP may have resulted in less severe cerebral damage, but was not associated with other clinical outcomes. In light of these findings, NIDCAP deserves further exploration.

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Keywords Developmental care, Neonatal intensive care unit, Outcome, Premature infant
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Wielenga, J.M., Smit, B., Merkus, M.P., & Kok, J.H.. (2007). Individualized developmental care in a Dutch NICU: Short-term clinical outcome. Acta Paediatrica: promoting child health, 96(10), 1409–1415. doi:10.1111/j.1651-2227.2007.00451.x