Infant Journal
for neonatal and paediatric healthcare professionals

Practice on timing of first chest radiographs in preterm neonates: a survey of UK neonatal units

Practice regarding routine chest radiography in the assessment of preterm infants admitted to neonatal units (NNUs) with respiratory illness is undetermined. Our study uses a digital survey to evaluate current practices regarding first chest radiograph in preterm infants admitted to NNUs in the UK, which demonstrates a tendency to delay the chest radiograph in infants who make good clinical progress. We review the likely impact of chest radiograph timing on subsequent management and clinical course of preterm neonates with respiratory distress.

Mark Robertson
Paediatric Registrar

Rosemary Abara
Consultant Paediatrician and Neonatologist

University Hospital Wishaw, Scotland

Robertson M., Abara R. Practice on timing of first chest radiographs in preterm neonates: a survey of UK neonatal units. Infant 2024; 20(2): 41-45.

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chest radiograph; preterm neonates; respiratory distress syndrome (RDS); lung ultrasound scan
Key points
  1. There is considerable variation in practice regarding timing of a first chest radiograph in preterm neonates.
  2. 65% of NNUs consider it acceptable to delay a chest radiograph by over four hours, if clinically appropriate.
  3. 29% of NNUs will consider discharging a preterm neonate with resolved respiratory distress without having a chest radiograph.
  4. Just 32% of NNUs have a written guideline on timing of a first chest radiograph.

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