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Effect of reading to preterm infants on measures of cardiorespiratory stability in the neonatal intensive care unit



To evaluate the impact of parental bedside reading (PR) on cardio-respiratory (CR) stability of preterm infants.

Methods/Study design

Prospective examination of the impact of PR on CR stability in preterm NICU infants. CR data from 3 time points: pre-reading (3 and 1 h before reading), during PR, and post-reading (1 h after reading) were compared.


Eighteen infants born at 23–31wks gestation, and 8 to 56 days old, were enrolled. Episodes of oxygen desaturation to <85% were fewer during PR as compared to the pre-reading periods and were fewer with live and maternal PR.


Preterm infants showed fewer desaturation events less than 85% during PR than prior to reading exposure. This effect persisted up to 1 h after reading exposure. Desaturation events were fewer with live and maternal PR. Voice exposure can be an important way for parents to participate in the care of their preterm infants.

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This work was supported by the Juliet Grace Smith Foundation.

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Correspondence to Melissa Scala.

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Scala, M., Seo, S., Lee-Park, J. et al. Effect of reading to preterm infants on measures of cardiorespiratory stability in the neonatal intensive care unit. J Perinatol 38, 1536–1541 (2018).

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