In most labor and delivery centers, the chest circumference of the newborn is routinely measured. In 48 of 51 hospitals in Arizona with obstetrics services, nurses routinely record this information for physician use. Our extensive review of the English medical literature revealed no data regarding the usefulness of routine chest measurement of the newborn. With ongoing health care system reform and difficult economic times, it is important to identify any routine clinical procedures that do not contribute significantly to medical care. Although this procedure takes little time, when multiplied by the number of infants born each year, it amounts to a substantial commitment of nursing time. The purpose of this report is to contribute information regarding the value of routine neonatal chest circumference measurement.
We mailed a questionnaire to 125 practicing pediatricians in the Phoenix area to learn about their attitudes regarding the use, evaluation, and preferences of routine measurement