Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Effect of osteopathic manipulative treatment on length of stay in a population of preterm infants: a randomized controlled trial

Francesco Cerritelli12*, Gianfranco Pizzolorusso12, Francesco Ciardelli2, Emiliano La Mola2, Vincenzo Cozzolino2, Cinzia Renzetti2, Carmine D’Incecco3, Paola Fusilli3, Giuseppe Sabatino4 and Gina Barlafante12

Author Affiliations

1 EBOM – European Institute for Evidence Based Osteopathic Medicine, Chieti, Italy

2 AIOT – Accademia Italiana Osteopatia Tradizionale, Pescara, Italy

3 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit - “Spirito Santo” Civil Hospital, Pescara, Italy

4 Neonatology and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, University of Chieti

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BMC Pediatrics 2013, 13:65  doi:10.1186/1471-2431-13-65

Published: 26 April 2013



The use of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) in preterm infants has been documented and results from previous studies suggest the association between OMT and length of stay (LOS) reduction, as well as significant improvements in several clinical outcomes. The aim of the present study is to investigate the effect of OMT on LOS in premature infants.


A randomized controlled trial was conducted on preterm newborns admitted to a single NICU between 2008-2009. N=110 subjects free of medical complications and with gestational age >28 and < 38 weeks were enrolled and randomized in two groups: study group (N=55) and control group (N=55). All subjects received routine pediatric care and OMT was performed to the study group for the entire period of hospitalization. Endpoints of the study included differences in LOS and daily weight gain.


Results showed a significant association between OMT and LOS reduction (mean difference between treated and control group: -5.906; 95% C.I. -7.944, -3.869; p<0.001). OMT was not associated to any change in daily weight gain.


The present study suggests that OMT may have an important role in the management of preterm infants hospitalization.

Trial registration, NCT01544257.

Osteopathic manipulative treatment; Newborns; Preterm infants; Length of stay; Costs; Weight gain