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Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment Decreases Hospital Stay and Healthcare Cost in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit


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Randomized Controlled Trial


Fascial, Cranial and Pediatric

Medicines (Basel).2022 Sep 21;9(10):49.


Hannah Roland, Amanda Brown, Amy Rousselot, Natalie Freeman, J Michael Wieting, Stephen Bergman, Debasis Mondal


Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) is used in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Evidence suggests that OMT can reduce both patients' recovery time and the financial cost of their acute medical treatment and rehabilitation. Multiple studies from neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) are presented in this article that demonstrate infants treated with OMT recover faster, are discharged earlier, and have lower healthcare costs than their non-OMT-treated counterparts. Data clearly show that adjunctive OMT facilitates feeding coordination in newborns, such as latching, suckling, swallowing, and breathing, and increases long-term weight gain and maintenance, which reduces hospital length of stay (LOS). Osteopathic techniques, such as soft tissue manipulation, balanced ligamentous tension, myofascial release, and osteopathic cranial manipulation (OCM), can reduce regurgitation, vomiting, milky bilious, or bloody discharge and decrease the need for constipation treatment. OMT can also be effective in reducing the complications of pneumonia in premature babies. Studies show the use of OCM and lymphatic pump technique (LPT) reduces the occurrence of both aspiration and environmentally acquired pneumonia, resulting in significantly lower morbidity and mortality in infants. Based on published findings, it is determined that OMT is clinically effective, cost efficient, a less invasive alternative to surgery, and a less toxic choice to pharmacologic drugs. Therefore, routine incorporation of OMT in the NICU can be of great benefit in infants with multiple disorders. Future OMT research should aim to initiate clinical trial designs that include randomized controlled trials with larger cohorts of infants admitted to the NICU. Furthermore, a streamlined and concerted effort to elucidate the underlying molecular mechanisms associated with the beneficial effects of OMT will aid in understanding the significant value of incorporating OMT into optimal patient care.

Publication Date: 

2022 Sep



Roland, H., Brown, A., Rousselot, A., Freeman, N., Wieting, MJ., Bergman, S., Mondal, D. (2022) 'Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment Decreases Hospital Stay and Healthcare Cost in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit', Medicines (Basel).2022 Sep 21;9(10):49.

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