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dressing, myelomeningocele, neonatal nursing care, neural tube defect, spina bifida



  1. Cartwright, Cathy C.
  2. Igbaseimokumo, Usiakimi
  3. Olsen, Steven


ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Myelomeningoceles are routinely closed surgically within 24 to 48 hours after birth; the defect and exposed placode must be protected from further damage from excoriation and contamination until surgery. PURPOSE: Two methods to keep the defect moist and clean are used at our large Midwestern children's hospital: the occlusive and the drip. There was no agreement between the neonatal and neurosurgical teams as to which technique was superior, hence the need for a formal evaluation. METHODS: A prospective, randomized trial was conducted to compare the ease of nursing care, cost of supplies, neonatal temperature, and moisture of the placode at the time of closure in neonates with a myelomeningocele. RESULTS: Nurses categorized the occlusive group as easy care (100%) compared with 60% for the drip group, although the difference was not statistically significant (P = .18). The mean temperatures of the 2 groups before surgery were identical (36.9[degrees]C) in both groups. The cost of the drip was 6 times higher than that of the occlusive technique. The placode was assessed as moist in all 13 cases (100%). CONCLUSION: The occlusive technique was easier to care for by all the nurses and was 6 times more cost effective. Both methods kept the placode moist and did not affect the temperature of the baby.