Intensive care noise and mean arterial blood pressure in ELBW neonates

Amber L Williams, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Objective. Loud noises in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) may impede growth and development for extremely low birthweight (ELBW, < 1000 grams) newborns. The objective of this study was to measure the association between NICU sound levels and ELBW neonates' arterial blood pressure to determine whether these newborns experience noise-induced stress. Methods. Noise and arterial blood pressure recordings were collected for 9 ELBW neonates during the first week of life. Sound levels were measured inside the incubator, and each subject's arterial blood pressures were simultaneously recorded for 15 minutes (at 1 sec intervals). Time series cross-correlation functions were calculated for NICU noise and mean arterial blood pressure (MABP) recordings for each subject. The grand mean noise-MABP cross-correlation was calculated for all subjects and for lower and higher birthweight groups for comparison. Results. The grand mean noise-MABP cross-correlation for all subjects was mostly negative (through 300 sec lag time) and nearly reached significance at the 95% level at 111 sec lag (mean r = -0.062). Lower birthweight newborns (454-709 g) experienced significant decreases in blood pressure with increasing NICU noise after 145 sec lag (peak r = -0.074). Higher birthweight newborns had an immediate negative correlation with NICU sound levels (at 3 sec lag, r = -0.071), but arterial blood pressures increased to a positive correlation with noise levels at 197 sec lag (r = 0.075). Conclusions. ELBW newborns' arterial blood pressure was influenced by NICU noise levels during the first week of life. Lower birthweight newborns may have experienced an orienting reflex to NICU sounds. Higher birthweight newborns experienced an immediate orienting reflex to increasing sound levels, but arterial blood pressure increased approximately 3 minutes after increases in noise levels. Increases in arterial blood pressure following increased NICU sound levels may result from a stress response to noise.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Williams, Amber L, "Intensive care noise and mean arterial blood pressure in ELBW neonates" (2008). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1450180.