Effects of Massage Therapy to Induce Sleep in Preterm Infants

Brief Summary

Official Title: “Effects of Massage Therapy to Induce Sleep in Preterm Infants”

Premature infants sometimes require sedation to ensure minimal movement during diagnostic procedures such as MRIs. However, sedatives may produce adverse effects. The purpose of this two-day study is to determine whether massage therapy will promote sleep in preterm infants and also help them to stay asleep, providing a safer way to sedate infants for procedures. A small instrument called a sleep watch or actigraph will be placed around the infant's ankle to measure muscle activity and provide an indication of sleep. Infants will receive a 10- minute massage on one morning of the study and no massage on the alternate morning. Recordings from the actigraph will show whether there is difference in sleep pattern with and without massage. Infants will be monitored for any heart rate and oxygen saturation changes on both mornings of the study.

  • Study Type: Interventional
  • Study Design: Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Crossover Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Supportive Care
  • Study Primary Completion Date: June 2012

Detailed Clinical Trial Description

This cross-over trial pilot study will assess the effectiveness of massage therapy for inducing and maintaining sleep in preterm infants. Massage therapy promotes relaxation and lowers stress levels, evidenced by increased vagal activity and lower cortisol levels. Safer methods of inducing sleep without drugs would be beneficial for infants who require sedation for diagnostic studies. The sample will include infants over 3 days old and between 32-40 weeks adjusted gestational age in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Infants who are clinically unstable, require surgery, have major congenital anomalies or have a history of severe birth asphyxia will be excluded.

After parental consent, infants will be randomized to receive massage on study day 1 or study day 2. Standard care will be provided on the alternate study day. A minimum of 30 infants is required to complete the study. The primary outcome measure used to document the response to massage will measured by the Motionlogger® Micro Sleep Watch® Actigraph (Actigraph). The actigraph will be placed on the infant's ankle approximately following the 9 am feed and will record lower extremity activity until approximately the 12 pm feed. Massages will occur after a minimum of 30 minutes following the morning feeding when the infant is in a quiet alert state and will be approximately 10 minutes in length. Baby lotion used as standard care in the NICU will be used to facilitate ease of massage.

Primary outcome measures will include data recorded by the actigraph: (a) sleep onset following massage intervention, (b) sleep end time, (c) number of awakenings and duration of awakenings during the study interval, (d) the duration of the longest sustained sleep period, and (e) sleep efficiency. Secondary outcomes will include oxygen saturation and heart rate during massage and for 30 minutes after massage.

Interventions Used in this Clinical Trial

  • Other: Massage therapy
    • An overall massage time of approximately 10 minutes, administered by physical therapists. Almond oil or baby lotion that is currently used in standard care in the ACH NICU will be used to assist with ease of skin to skin contact during moderate pressure massage. Infants will receive two repetitions of 5-1minute periods of 12 strokes lasting approximately 5 seconds each described in protocol. Actigraph device is on infant’s ankle to measure sleep.

Arms, Groups and Cohorts in this Clinical Trial

  • Experimental: Massage therapy
    • Massage therapy for 10 minutes during quiet alert state following 9 AM feeding. Actigraph in place to measure sleep for 3 hours.
  • No Intervention: No massage therapy
    • This was a crossover trial with two arms. On one day, infants received massage therapy for 10 minutes. On the other day, infants were monitored as usual with the Actigraph to measure sleep efficiency, but received no massage therapy. This was the control or no intervention arm.

Outcome Measures for this Clinical Trial

Primary Measures

  • Quality of Sleep, Defined by Number and Duration of Awakenings, and Longest Sustained Sleep Period for the Study Interval. These Data Were Measured by the Actigraph Software and Summarized as Percentage of Time Spent Sleeping, or Sleep Efficiency
    • Time Frame: Participants were followed for two days
      Safety Issue?: No
  • Number of Infants Sleeping at the End of the Massage Period
    • Time Frame: Minute massage ended
      Safety Issue?: No

Secondary Measures

  • Oxygen Saturation Levels During Massage
    • Time Frame: During massage
      Safety Issue?: Yes
  • Heart Rate
    • Time Frame: During massage therapy
      Safety Issue?: Yes

Criteria for Participation in this Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

  • > 3 days old
  • 32-48 weeks adjusted gestational age
  • Minimum of 28 weeks gestational age at birth
  • Clinically stable as determined by an neonatologist
  • Stable respiratory status on room air or nasal cannula flow <2 LPM
  • Not meeting exclusion criteria

Exclusion Criteria

  • Documented maternal opiate use prior to admission to Labor and Delivery (opiates administered by physicians' order during labor prior to delivery do not mandate exclusion from the study as long as the mother does not have a past history of opiate abuse or a positive drug screen at hospital admission prior to delivery).
  • Clinically unstable and/or unable to be moved from the infant warmer
  • Severe congenital anomalies likely to be associated with developmental delay
  • Apgar score of ≤ 3 at 5 minutes of age
  • Any other condition that in the opinion of the investigator might result in unnecessary or excessive risk to the subject
  • Unstable respiratory status
  • Sedation in the previous 24 hours before the infant's trial.
  • Neurological disease: grade III or IV intraventricular hemorrhage, periventricular leukomalacia, evidence of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy
  • Anticipated painful procedures during the study period between 9 am and 12 pm

Gender Eligibility for this Clinical Trial: Both

Minimum Age for this Clinical Trial: N/A

Maximum Age for this Clinical Trial: 20 Weeks

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted for this Clinical Trial: No

Clinical Trial Investigator Information

  • Lead Sponsor
    • University of Arkansas
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Sponsor
  • Overall Official(s)
    • Richard W Hall, M.D., Principal Investigator, University of Arkansas


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