Recommendations for use of adhesives on hospitalized newborns: A systematic review of the literature


Background: The skin is the largest organ in the human body. It provides multiple barrier functions, tactile or defensive, and acts as a mediator allowing for the attachment of vital monitoring devices with medical adhesives. Adhesives consist of several layers with varying compositions and properties. We aimed to provide recommendations for their use in the care of hospitalized neonates on the basis of a systematic literature review.

Methods: We searched PubMed for English or French articles published before May 29, 2020, using the keywords « adhesive, » « tape, », « skin, » and « neonat*. » Recommendations were developed after review by a multidisciplinary group including 15 professionals and parent representatives.

Results: We identified 295 studies, and from 30 eligible studies we developed six recommendations according to four perspectives: assessment of the skin condition to improve the methods of application of the different adhesives and their removal; use of adhesives as a platform; and discouraging the regular use of semi-permeable dressings to compensate for the immaturity of the skin barrier.

Conclusion: Skin lesions are common for hospitalized neonates. Use of adhesives may increase the occurrence of such lesions. Adhesives should be subject to good clinical practice guidelines. Health professionals caring for newborns should know the tools for screening and preventing skin lesions.