Behaviors of preterm infants with and without chronic lung disease when alone and when with nurses.
Many clinicians believe that infants with chronic lung disease display more irritability and react more negatively to care than other preterm infants. Therefore, the sleep-wake states and behaviors displayed by 31 high-risk preterm infants without chronic lung disease and 20 infants with chronic lung disease during four-hour observations conducted in intermediate care between 32 and 36 weeks postconceptional age were compared. Separate analyses were conducted for times when infants were alone and when they were with nurses to determine whether behavioral differences might be greater during handling. There were very few differences between the groups in either situation. Sleep-wake states did not differ. The infants with chronic lung disease exhibited more jitters at every age, but only when they were alone. Infants with and without chronic lung disease showed isolated differences in five behaviors when they were alone but in only two behaviors when they were with nurses. Thus, there is no evidence that 32- to 36-week preterm infants with chronic lung disease are more irritable or react more negatively to care than other preterm infants.
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