Common clinical practices often are unsupported by experimental evidence. One example is the administration of sodium bicarbonate to neonates. Despite a long history of widespread use, objective evidence that administration of sodium bicarbonate improves outcomes for patients in cardiopulmonary arrest or with metabolic acidosis is lacking. Indeed, there is evidence that this therapy is detrimental. This review examines the history of sodium bicarbonate use in neonatology and the evidence that refutes the clinical practice of administering sodium bicarbonate during cardiopulmonary resuscitation or to treat metabolic acidosis in the NICU.

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