The aim of this study was to review the effects of developmental care in neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) setting on mental and motor development of preterm infants.
We searched PubMed, EMBASE, CINAHL, Scopus, Web of Science and Cochrane library until October 8th 2017, and included randomized controlled trials that assessed effects of developmental care in NICU on mental and motor development of preterm infants at 12 and 24 months of age, using the Bayley scale of infant development in this systematic review. In addition, data were pooled by random effects model and Standardized Mean Difference (SMD) with 95% confidence intervals (CI), calculated for meta-analysis.
Twenty one studies were eligible to be included in this systematic review; however, only thirteen studies had data suitable for meta-analysis. According to statistical analysis, developmental care in NICU improved mental developmental index (MDI) (standardized mean difference [SMD] 0.55, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.23-0.87; p < 0.05), and psychomotor developmental index (PDI) (SMD 0.33, [CI] 95% CI 0.08-0.57; p < 0.05) of BSID at 12 months of age and PDI at 24 months of age (SMD 0.15, 95% CI -0.02-0.32; p < 0.1) of preterm infants. However, the benefit was not detected at 24 months of age on MDI (SMD 0.15, 95% CI -0.05-0.35; p = 0.15).
Current evidence suggests that developmental care in only NICU setting could have significant effect on mental and motor development of preterm infants, especially at 12 months of age. However, because of clinical heterogeneity, more studies are needed to evaluate the effects of developmental NICU care in the development of preterm infants.
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