Objective: To determine the frequency, type, and severity of adverse events during intra-hospital transport of newborn infants, and to identify associated factors.
Study design: We conducted a prospective observational study in a tertiary care academic neonatal unit. All patients hospitalized in the neonatal unit and undergoing intra-hospital transport between June 1, 2015 and May 31, 2017 were included. Transports from other hospitals and the delivery room were not included.
Results: Data from 990 intra-hospital transports performed in 293 newborn infants were analyzed. The median postnatal age at transport was 13 days (Q1-Q3 5-44). Adverse events occurred in 25% of transports (248/990) and were mainly related to instability of cardiovascular and respiratory systems, agitation, and temperature control. Adverse events were associated with no harm in 207 transports (207/990, 21%), mild harm in 37 transports (37/990, 4%), and moderate harm in 4 transports (4/990, 0.4%). There was no severe or lethal adverse event. Hemodynamic support with catecholamines, the presence of a central venous catheter, and a longer duration of transport were independent predictors for the occurrence of adverse events during transport.
Conclusion: Intra-hospital transports of newborns are associated with a substantial proportion of adverse events of low to moderate severity. Our data have implications to inform clinical practice, for benchmarking and quality improvement initiatives, and for the development of specific guidelines.