Assessment of Primitive Reflexes in High-risk Newborns

Min Sohn, Youngmee Ahn, Sangmi Lee

Abstract


Background: Assessment of primitive reflexes is one of the earliest, simplest, and most frequently used assessment tools among health care providers for newborns and young infants. However, very few data exist for high-risk infants in this topic. Among the various primitive reflexes, this study was undertaken particularly to describe the sucking, Babinski and Moro reflexes in high-risk newborns and to explore their relationships with clinical variables.

Methods: This study is a cross-sectional descriptive study. Sixty seven high-risk newborns including full-term infants required intensive care as well as premature infants were recruited in a neonatal intensive care unit using convenient sampling method. The sucking, Babinski and Moro reflexes were assessed and classified by normal, abnormal and absence. To explore their relationships with clinical variables, birth-related variables, brain sonogram results, and behavioral state (the Anderson Behavioral State Scale, ABSS) and mental status (the Infant Coma Scale, ICS) were assessed.

Results: The sucking reflex presented a normal response most frequently (63.5%), followed by Babinski reflex (58.7%) and Moro reflex (42.9%). Newborns who presented normal sucking and Babinski reflex responses were more likely to have older gestational age, heavier birth and current weight, higher Apgar scores, shorter length of hospitalization, better respiratory conditions, and better mental status assessed by ICS, but not with Moro reflex.

Conclusions: High risk newborns presented more frequent abnormal and absence responses of primitive reflex and the proportions of the responses varied by reflex. Further researches are necessary in exploring diverse aspects of primitive reflexes and revealing their clinical implication in the high-risk newborns that are unique and different to normal healthy newborns.




doi:10.4021/jocmr706w


Keywords


Primitive reflex; High risk infants; Korean; Moro reflex; Sucking reflex; Babinski reflex; The Anderson Behavioral State Scale; Infant Coma Scale

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