The aim of this study is to find out which method is best to achieve a successful lumbar puncture. A lumbar puncture is a procedure which takes a small amount of fluid from the spine through a needle in the lower back. This fluid ('cerebrospinal fluid') is sent to a laboratory to help diagnose conditions such as meningitis.
Sometimes lumbar punctures do not result in a clear sample. Sometimes they have to be repeated. At the moment, different doctors or advanced neonatal nurses use slightly different methods. By finding out what the best method is for this procedure, we could increase the number of successful lumbar punctures. This could reduce the need for repeat procedures and help with more accurate test results and diagnoses. This may reduce stress for the babies and their parents.
We are looking at 2 different methods to see if these affect the success of the lumbar puncture:
1. Sitting versus lying down
The lumbar puncture would be carried out with your baby held either sitting up or lying on their side.
2. Early stylet removal versus late stylet removal
A stylet sits inside the needle to prevent skin cells getting stuck in the needle. During the procedure, the stylet would either be removed after the needle is through the skin but before it reaches the cerebrospinal fluid, or it will be removed from the needle after it reaches the cerebrospinal fluid.