Neonatal Vital Sign Trajectories and Risk Factors During Transport Within a Regional Care Network

Published:September 14, 2022DOI:



      The aim of this study was to characterize vital sign abnormalities, trajectories, and related risk factors during neonatal transport.


      We performed a retrospective analysis of neonates transported within a US regional care network in 2020 to 2021. Demographic and clinical data were collected from electronic records. Group-based trajectory modeling was applied to identify groups of neonates who followed distinct vital sign trajectories during transport. Patients with conditions likely to impact the assessed vital were excluded. Risk factors for trajectories were examined using modified Poisson regression models.


      Of the 620 neonates in the study, 92% had one abnormal systolic blood pressure (SBP) measure, approximately half had an abnormal heart rate (47%) or temperature (56%), and 28% had an abnormal oxygen saturation measure during transport. Over half (53%) were in a low and decreasing SBP trajectory, and 36% were in a high and increasing heart rate trajectory. Most infants ≤ 28 weeks postmenstrual age had 2 or more concerning vital sign trajectories during transport.


      Abnormal vital signs were common during neonatal transport, and potentially negative trajectories in heart rate and SBP were more common than temperature or oxygen saturation. Transport teams should be trained and equipped to detect concerning trends and respond appropriately while en route.
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