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Umbilical cord blood gas analysis

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 13 May 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c1720
  1. James P Neilson, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology
  1. 1University of Liverpool, Liverpool L8 7SS
  1. jneilson{at}

    Paired samples should be analysed in selected circumstances

    The umbilical cord, discarded without thought from labour wards for so long, has recently generated interest on several fronts. Cord blood is a source of stem cells and some parents want cord blood collected for banking by commercial enterprises in case it can help their child’s future health needs. However, the Human Tissue Authority in the United Kingdom has recently expressed concerns about the safety of collection mechanisms.1 It is also increasingly recognised that obstetricians and midwives often clamp the cord too soon after birth, thereby depriving the baby of substantial amounts of blood—this is particularly important in parts of the world where infant anaemia is prevalent.2 And now we have biochemical analysis of cord blood. In the linked systematic review (doi:10.1136/bmj.c1471), Malin and colleagues assess the association between umbilical cord pH at birth and outcomes.3

    Umbilical cord blood gases could be of value in auditing the outcomes of labour, predicting future …

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