OBJECTIVE: To assess whether length of hospital stay is decreased among moderately preterm infants weaned from incubator to crib at a lower vs higher weight.
STUDY DESIGN: This trial was conducted in the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network. Infants with gestational ages 29-33 weeks, birthweight <1600 g, and in an incubator were randomly assigned to a weaning weight of 1600 or 1800 g. Within 60 to 100 g of weaning weight, the incubator temperature was decreased by 1.0°C to 1.5°C every 24 hours until 28.0°C. The infants were weaned to the crib following stable temperature at 36.5°C to 37.4°C for 8 to 12 hours. Clothing and bedcoverings were standardized. The primary outcome was length of hospital stay from birth to discharge; secondary outcomes included length of stay and growth velocity from weaning to discharge. Adverse events were monitored.
RESULTS: Of 1565 infants screened, 885 were eligible, and 366 enrolled-187 to the 1600-g and 179 to the 1800-g group. Maternal and neonatal characteristics did not differ among weight groups. Length of hospital stay was a median of 43 days in the lower and 41 days in the higher weight group (P = .12). Growth velocity from completion of weaning to discharge was higher in the lower weight group, 13.7 g/kg/day vs 12.8 g/kg/day (P = .005). Groups did not differ in adverse events.
CONCLUSIONS: Among moderately preterm neonates, weaning from incubator to crib at a lower weight did not decrease length of stay, but was safe and was accompanied by higher weight gain after weaning.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.govNCT02160002.