To evaluate the association between maternal medication use during pregnancy and cerebral white matter damage and cerebral palsy (CP) among very preterm infants.
This analysis of data from the ELGAN Study included 877 infants born <28 weeks gestation. Mothers were interviewed, charts reviewed, placentas were cultured and assessed histologically, and children evaluated at 24 months corrected age. A diagnostic algorithm classified neurologic findings as quadriparetic CP, diparetic CP, hemiparetic CP, or no CP.
After adjustment for the potential confounding of disorders for which medications might have been indicated, the risk of quadraparetic CP remained elevated among the infants of mothers who consumed aspirin (OR=3.0, 95% CI 1.3,6.9) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) (OR=2.4, 95% CI 1.04,5.8). The risk of diparetic CP was also associated with maternal consumption of an NSAID, but only if the consumption was not approved by a physician (OR=3.5, 95% CI 1.1,11.0)
The possibility that aspirin and NSAID use in pregnancy could lead to perinatal brain damage cannot be excluded.
Cerebral palsy; cerebral white matter damage; preterm
We sought to disentangle the contributions of perinatal systemic inflammation and small for gestational age (SGA) to the occurrence of low Bayley Mental Development Indices (MDIs) at age 2 years.
We measured the concentration of 25 inflammation-related proteins in blood obtained during the first 2 postnatal weeks from 805 infants who were born before the 28th week of gestation and who had MDI measurements at age 2 years and were able to walk independently.
SGA newborns who did not have systemic inflammation (a concentration of an inflammation-related protein in the top quartile for gestational age on 2 days a week apart) were at greater risk of an MDI < 55, but not 55–69, than their peers who had neither SGA nor systemic inflammation. SGA infants who had elevated blood concentrations of IL-1beta, TNF-alpha, or IL-8 during the first two postnatal weeks were at even higher risk of an MDI < 55 than their SGA peers without systemic inflammation and of their non-SGA peers with systemic inflammation.
SGA appears to place very preterm newborns at increased risk of a very low MDI. Systemic inflammation adds considerably to the increased risk.
The newborn classified as growth-restricted on birth weight curves, but not on fetal weight curves, is classified prenatally as small for gestational age (SGA), but postnatally as appropriate for gestational age (AGA).
To see (1) to what extent the neurodevelopmental outcomes at 24 months corrected age differed among three groups of infants (those identified as SGA based on birth weight curves (B-SGA), those identified as SGA based on fetal weight curves only (F-SGA), and the referent group of infants considered AGA, (2) if girls and boys were equally affected by growth restriction, and (3) to what extent neurosensory limitations influenced what we found.
Observational cohort of births before the 28 week of gestation. Outcome measures: Mental Development Index (MDI) and Psychomotor Development Index (PDI) of the Bayley Scales of Infant Development II.
B-SGA, but not F-SGA girls were at an increased risk of a PDI < 70 (OR=2.8; 95% CI: 1.5, 5.3) compared to AGA girls. B-SGA and F-SGA boys were not at greater risk of low developmental indices than AGA boys. Neurosensory limitations diminished associations among girls of B-SGA with low MDI, and among boys B-SGA and F-SGA with PDI < 70.
Only girls with the most severe growth restriction were at increased risk of neurodevelopmental impairment at 24 months corrected age in the total sample. Neurosensory limitations appear to interfere with assessing growth restriction effects in both girls and boys born preterm.
To assess the impact of emperic antifungal therapy of invasive candidiasis on subsequent outcomes in premature infants.
This was a cohort study of infants ≤1000 g birth weight cared for at Neonatal Research Network sites. All infants had at least 1 positive culture for Candida. Emperic antifungal therapy was defined as receipt of a systemic antifungal on the day of or the day before the first positive culture for Candida was drawn. We created Cox proportional hazards and logistic regression models stratified on propensity score quartiles to determine the effect of emperic antifungal therapy on survival, time to clearance of infection, retinopathy of prematurity, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, end-organ damage, and neurodevelopmental impairment (NDI).
136 infants developed invasive candidiasis. The incidence of death or NDI was lower for infants who received emperic antifungal therapy (19/38, 50%) compared with those who had not (55/86, 64%; odds ratio=0.27 [95% confidence interval 0.08–0.86]). There was no significant difference between the groups for any single outcome or other combined outcomes.
Emperic antifungal therapy was associated with increased survival without NDI. A prospective randomized trial of this strategy is warranted.
Candida; neonate; mortality; neurodevelopmental impairment
Whether intraventricular hemorrhage increases the risk of adverse developmental outcome among premature infants is controversial. Using brain ultrasound, we identified IVH and white matter abnormalities among 1064 infants born before 28 weeks gestation. We identified adverse developmental outcomes at 24 months of age using a standardized neurological examination and the Bayley Scales of Infant Development Mental and Motor Scales. In logistic regression models that adjusted for gestational age, sex, and public insurance, isolated intraventricular hemorrhage was associated with visual fixation difficulty (odds ratio: 2.5 (95% confidence limits: 1.2, 5.1)) but no other adverse outcome. Infants who had a white matter lesion unaccompanied by intraventricular hemorrhage were at increased risk of cerebral palsy, low Mental and Motor Scores, and visual and hearing impairments. Except when accompanied or followed by a white matter lesion, intraventricular hemorrhage is associated with no more than a mild increase (and possibly no increase) in the risk of adverse developmental outcome during infancy.
cerebral palsy; vision impairment; developmental delay; developmental disability; prematurity; Bayley Scales of Infant Development; neurodevelopmental outcome
cyokines; developmental disability; cerebral palsy; mental retardation; periventricular leukomalacia; chorioamnionitis
To describe the network of collaboration among agencies that serve children with complex chronic conditions (CCC) and identify gaps in the network.
We surveyed representatives from agencies that serve children with CCC in Forsyth County, North Carolina about their agencies’ existing and desired collaborations with other agencies in the network. We used Social Network Analytical methods to describe gaps in the network. Mean out- and in-degree centrality (number of collaborative ties extending from or directed towards an agency) and density (ratio of extant ties to all possible ties) were measured.
In this network with 3,658 possible collaborative ties, care-coordination agencies and pediatric practices reported the highest existing collaborations with other agencies (out-degree centrality: 32 and 30 respectively). Pediatric practices reported strong ties with subspecialty clinics (density: 73%), but weak ties with family support services (density: 3%). Pediatric practices and subspecialty clinics (in-degree: 26) received the highest collaborative ties from other agencies. Support services and durable medical equipment companies reported low ties with other agencies (out-degree: 7 and 10 respectively). Nursing agencies reported the highest desired collaborations (out-degree: 18). Support services, pediatric practices and care-coordination programs had the highest in-degree centrality (7, 6 and 6 respectively) for desired collaborations. Nursing agencies and support services had the greatest gaps in collaboration.
Although collaboration exists among agencies serving children with CCC, there are many gaps in the network. Future studies should explore barriers and facilitators to inter-agency collaborations and whether increased collaboration in the network improves patient-level outcomes.
children; special needs; collaboration; health services research
To compare the frequency of elevated concentrations of inflammation-related proteins in the blood of infants born before the 28th week of gestation who had documented bacteremia to those who had presumed (antibiotic-treated but culture-negative) bacteremia to those who neither.
The subjects of this study are the 868 infants born at 14 institutions for whom information about protein measurements on at least two of the three protocol days (days 1, 7, and 14) was available and who did not have Bell stage 3 necrotizing enterocolitis or isolated bowel perforation, which were strongly associated with bacteremia in this sample.
Newborns with presumed early (week 1) bacteremia had elevated concentrations of only a few inflammation-related proteins, while those who had presumed late (weeks 2–4) bacteremia did not have any elevations. In contrast, newborns who had documented early bacteremia had a moderately strong signal, while those who had documented late bacteremia had a stronger signal with more protein concentrations elevated on two separate occasions a week apart.
Culture-confirmed early and late bacteremia are accompanied/followed by systemic inflammatory responses not seen with presumed early and late bacteremia.
bacteremia; infant; premature; blood proteins
To evaluate the hypothesis that elevated levels of inflammation-related proteins in early postnatal blood predict impaired mental and motor development among extremely preterm infants.
We measured concentrations of 25 inflammation-related proteins in blood collected on postnatal days 1, 7, and 14 from 939 infants born before 28 weeks gestation. An elevated level was defined as a concentration in the highest quartile for gestational age and day of blood collection. We identified impaired development at 24 months of age using the Bayley Scales of Infant Development. The primary outcomes were scores on the Mental or Motor Scale below 55 (more than 3 standard deviations below the mean).
For 17 of the 25 inflammation-related proteins, one or more statistically significant association (p < 0.01) was found between an elevated blood level of the protein and a developmental impairment. Elevations on multiple days were more often associated with developmental impairment than elevations present for only one day. The highest number of elevations was found in day-14 blood.
In extremely preterm infants, elevated levels of inflammation-related proteins in blood collected on postnatal days 7 and 14, especially when sustained, are associated with impaired mental and motor development at age two years.
cytokines; developmental disability; prematurity; Bayley Scales of Infant Development; neurodevelopmental outcome
Aggressive phototherapy (AgPT) is widely used and assumed to be safe and effective for even the most immature infants. We assessed whether the benefits and hazards for the smallest and sickest infants differed from those for other extremely low birth weight (ELBW; (≤1000 g) infants in our Neonatal Research Network trial, the only large trial of AgPT.
ELBW infants (n=1974) were randomized to AgPT or conservative phototherapy at age 12–36 hours. The effect of AgPT on outcomes (death; impairment; profound impairment; death or impairment [primary outcome], and death or profound impairment) at 18–22 months corrected age was related to BW stratum (501–750 g; 751–1000 g) and baseline severity of illness using multilevel regression equations. The probability of benefit and of harm was directly assessed with Bayesian analyses.
Baseline illness severity was well characterized using mechanical ventilation and FiO2 at 24 hours age. Among mechanically ventilated infants ≤750 g BW (n =684), a reduction in impairment and in profound impairment was offset by higher mortality (p for interaction <0.05) with no significant effect on composite outcomes. Conservative Bayesian analyses of this subgroup identified a 99% (posterior) probability that AgPT increased mortality, a 97% probability that AgPT reduced impairment, and a 99% probability that AgPT reduced profound impairment.
Findings from the only large trial of AgPT suggest that AgPT may increase mortality while reducing impairment and profound impairment among the smallest and sickest infants. New approaches to reduce their serum bilirubin need development and rigorous testing.
Phototherapy; bilirubin; severity of illness; ELBW infant; impairment; randomized clinical trial; statistical interaction; Bayesian analysis
Natural antisense transcripts (NATs) are endogenous RNA molecules that are complementary to known RNA transcripts. The functional significance of NATs is poorly understood, but their prevalence in the CNS suggests a role in brain function. Here we investigated a long NAT (antiNOS-2 RNA) associated with the regulation of nitric oxide (NO) production in the CNS of Lymnaea, an established model for molecular analysis of learning and memory. We show the antiNOS-2 RNA is axonally trafficked and demonstrate that this is regulated by classical conditioning. Critically, a single conditioning trial changes the amount of antiNOS-2 RNA transported along the axon. This occurs within the critical time window when neurotransmitter NO is required for memory formation. Our data suggest a role for the antiNOS-2 RNA in establishing memories through the regulation of NO signaling at the synapse.
extreme prematurity; neurodevelopmental impairment; attention; attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; neuroprotection
To determine if selected pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines/mediators of inflammation reported to be related to development of cerebral palsy predict neurodevelopmental outcome in extremely low birth weight infants.
Infants with birth weights ≤ 1000 g (n=1067) had blood samples collected at birth and on days 3±1, 7±1, 14±3, and 21±3 to examine the association between cytokines and neurodevelopmental outcomes. The analyses were focused on five cytokines (IL-1β, IL-8, TNF-α, RANTES, and IL-2) reported to be most predictive of CP in term and late preterm infants.
IL-8 was higher on days 0–4 and subsequently in infants who developed CP compared with infants who did not develop CP in both unadjusted and adjusted analyses. Other cytokines (IL-12, IL-17, TNF-β, SIL-rα, MIP-1β) were found to be altered on days 0–4 in infants who developed CP.
CP in former preterm infants may, in part, have a late perinatal and/or early neonatal inflammatory origin.
To test the hypothesis that heart rate characteristics (HRC) monitoring improves neonatal outcomes.
Two-group, parallel, individually randomized controlled clinical trial of 3003 very low birth weight infants in 9 NICUs. In one group, HRC monitoring was displayed; in the other, it was masked. The primary outcome was number of days alive and ventilator-free in the 120 days after randomization. Secondary outcomes were mortality, number of ventilator days, NICU stay and antibiotic use.
Mortality was reduced in infants whose HRC monitoring was displayed, from 10.2% to 8.1% (HR = 0.78, 95% CI = 0.61 to 0.99, P = 0.04, number needed to monitor 48), and there was a trend toward increased days alive and ventilator-free (95.9 of 120 days compared to 93.6 in controls, P = 0.08). Mortality benefit was concentrated in infants with birth weight <1000g (HR=0.74, 95% CI 0.57 to 0.95, P=0.02, number needed to monitor 23). There were no significant differences in the other outcomes.
Heart rate characteristics monitoring can reduce mortality in very low birth weight infants.
Neonatal sepsis; sample entropy; predictive monitoring; heart rate variability
We examined the association between elevated concentrations of 25 blood proteins in blood spots collected on postnatal days 1, 7, and 14 from infants < 28 weeks gestation who survived to 24 months and the risk of two patterns of early lung disease i.e., early and persistent pulmonary dysfunction (EPPD), and normal early pulmonary function followed by pulmonary deterioration (PD). 38% (N=347) of our cohort had PD, and 43% (N=383) had EPPD. On postnatal day 14, elevated concentrations of two proteins (RANTES and VEGF) were associated with reduced risk of PD. Similarly, the risk of EPPD was also reduced if three proteins had elevated concentrations on postnatal day 14 (RANTES, MMP-1, and VEGF). In contrast, the risk of EPPD was increased if on day 14 two proteins had elevated concentrations (IL-8 and ICAM-1). Inflammation might influence the risk of EPPD and PD, or be a consequence of lung damage or therapies to minimize lung dysfunction.
Oscillating neuronal circuits, known as central pattern generators (CPGs), are responsible for generating rhythmic behaviours such as walking, breathing and chewing. The CPG model alone however does not account for the ability of animals to adapt their future behaviour to changes in the sensory environment that signal reward. Here, using multi-electrode array (MEA) recording in an established experimental model of centrally generated rhythmic behaviour we show that the feeding CPG of Lymnaea stagnalis is itself associated with another, and hitherto unidentified, oscillating neuronal population. This extra-CPG oscillator is characterised by high population-wide activity alternating with population-wide quiescence. During the quiescent periods the CPG is refractory to activation by food-associated stimuli. Furthermore, the duration of the refractory period predicts the timing of the next activation of the CPG, which may be minutes into the future. Rewarding food stimuli and dopamine accelerate the frequency of the extra-CPG oscillator and reduce the duration of its quiescent periods. These findings indicate that dopamine adapts future feeding behaviour to the availability of food by significantly reducing the refractory period of the brain's feeding circuitry.
Influenza vaccine immunogenicity in premature infants is incompletely characterized.
To assess the immunogenicity of trivalent, inactivated influenza vaccine (TIV) in extremely low-birth-weight (ELBW, ≤1000 grams birth weight), premature (<30 weeks gestation) infants. We hypothesized that geometric mean titers (GMT) of influenza antibody would be lower in premature than in full-term (≥37 week) infants.
In this prospective, multicenter study, former premature and full-term infants ages, 6–17 months, received 2 doses of TIV during the 2006–7 or 2007–8 influenza seasons. Sera were drawn before dose 1 and 4–6 weeks after dose 2. Antibody was measured by hemagglutination inhibition.
Over two years, 41 premature and 42 full-term infants were enrolled; 36 and 33 of these infants, respectively, had post-vaccination titers available. Premature infants weighed less (mean 1.3 – 1.8 kg difference) at the time of immunization than full-term infants. Pre-vaccination titers did not differ between groups. Premature infants had higher post-vaccination antibody GMT than full-term infants to H1 (2006–7, 1:513 v. 1:91, P=0.03; 2007–8, 1:363 v. 1:189, P=0.02) and B/Victoria (2006–7, 1:51 v. 1:10, P=0.02). More premature than full-term infants had antibody titers ≥ 1:32 to B/Victoria (85% v. 60%, p=0.04) in 2007–8. Two (5%) premature and 8 (19%) full-term infants had adverse events, primarily fever, within 72 hours after vaccination. No child had medically-diagnosed influenza.
Former premature infants had antibody responses to two TIV doses greater than or equal to those of full-term children. Two TIV doses are immunogenic and well tolerated in ELBW, premature infants 6–17 months old.
Premature infant; very low birth weight infant; influenza vaccines; immunization; vaccines
Although ionizing radiation induces germline mutations in animals, human studies of radiation-exposed populations have not detected an effect. We conducted a case-control study of sporadic bilateral retinoblastoma, which results from a new germline RB1 mutation, to investigate gonadal radiation exposure of parents from medical sources before their child's conception. Parents of 206 cases from 9 North American institutions and 269 controls participated; fathers of 184 cases and 223 friend and relative controls and mothers of 204 cases and 260 controls provided information in telephone interviews on their medical radiation exposure. Cases provided DNA for RB1 mutation testing. Of common procedures, lower GI series conferred the highest estimated dose to testes and ovaries. Paternal history of lower GI series was associated with increased risk of retinoblastoma in the child (matched odds ratio (OR)=3.6, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.2, 11.2, 2-sided P=0.02), as was estimated total testicular dose from all procedures combined (OR for highest dose=3.9, 95% CI 1.2, 14.4, P =0.02). Maternal history of lower GI series was also associated with increased risk (OR=7.6, 95% CI 2.8, 20.7, P <0.001) as was estimated total dose (OR for highest dose=3.0, 95% CI 1.4, 7.0, P =0.005). The RB1 mutation spectrum in cases of exposed parents did not differ from that of other cases. Some animal and human data support our findings of an association of gonadal radiation exposure in men and women with new germline RB1 mutation detectable in their children, although bias, confounding, and/or chance may also explain the results.
germline mutation; ionizing radiation; retinoblastoma; case-control studies; pediatric cancer
Lung inflammation contributes to the pathogenesis of bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) and may be accompanied by a systematic inflammatory response. The objective of this study was to investigate the role of systemic inflammation in the development of BPD in a cohort of extremely low gestational age newborns (ELGANs) by examining the relationships between inflammation-associated proteins in neonatal blood samples and pulmonary outcomes. Proteins were measured in blood specimens collected on postnatal days 1–3, 5–8 and 12–15 from 932 ELGANs. Increased risk of BPD was associated with elevated blood concentrations of a variety of pro-inflammatory cytokines, adhesion molecules and proteases. Reduced risk was prominently associated with increased concentrations of one chemokine, RANTES. Elevations of inflammatory proteins associated with BPD risk occurred during the first days following birth, and inflammation intensified thereafter. Therefore, exposures that promote inflammation after the first postnatal days may be more critical in the pathogenesis of BPD. Fetal growth restriction, a known BPD risk factor, was not accompanied by proteins elevations and therefore does not appear to be mediated by systemic inflammation. By contrast, mechanical ventilation altered protein levels and may be associated with systemic inflammation.
It remains controversial as to whether neonatal seizures have additional direct effects on the developing brain separate from the severity of the underlying encephalopathy. Using data collected from infants diagnosed with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, and who were enrolled in an National Institute of Child Health and Human Development trial of hypothermia, we analyzed associations between neonatal clinical seizures and outcomes at 18 months of age. Of the 208 infants enrolled, 102 received whole body hypothermia and 106 were controls. Clinical seizures were generally noted during the first 4 days of life and rarely afterward. When adjustment was made for study treatment and severity of encephalopathy, seizures were not associated with death, or moderate or severe disability, or lower Bayley Mental Development Index scores at 18 months of life. Among infants diagnosed with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, the mortality and morbidity often attributed to neonatal seizures can be better explained by the underlying severity of encephalopathy.
neonatal seizures; whole-body hypothermia; neurodevelopmental outcome; hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy
To evaluate, in extremely low gestational age newborns (ELGANs), relationships between indicators of early postnatal hypotension and cranial ultrasound indicators of cerebral white matter damage imaged in the nursery and cerebral palsy diagnoses at 24 month follow-up.
The 1041 infants in this prospective study were born at < 28 weeks gestation, were assessed for 3 indicators of hypotension in the first 24 postnatal hours, had at least one set of protocol cranial ultrasound scans, and were evaluated with a structured neurologic exam at 24 months corrected age. Indicators of hypotension included: 1) lowest mean arterial pressure (MAP) in the lowest quartile for gestational age; 2) treatment with a vasopressor; and 3) blood pressure lability, defined as the upper quartile of the difference between each infant’s lowest and highest MAP. Outcomes included indicators of cerebral white matter damage, i.e. moderate/severe ventriculomegaly or an echolucent lesion on cranial ultrasound, and cerebral palsy diagnoses at 24 months gestation. Logistic regression was used to evaluate relationships among hypotension indicators and outcomes, adjusting for potential confounders.
Twenty-one percent of surviving infants had a lowest blood pressure in the lowest quartile for gestational age, 24% were treated with vasopressors, and 24% had labile blood pressure. Among infants with these hypotension indicators, 10% percent developed ventriculomegaly and 7% developed an echolucent lesion. At 24-months follow-up, 6% had developed quadriparesis, 4% diparesis, and 2% hemiparesis. After adjusting for confounders, we found no association between indicators of hypotension, and indicators of cerebral white matter damage or a cerebral palsy diagnosis.
The absence of an association between indicators of hypotension and cerebral white matter damage and or cerebral palsy suggests that early hypotension may not be important in the pathogenesis of brain injury in ELGANs.
hypotension; mean arterial blood pressure; cranial ultrasound; ventriculomegaly; echolucent lesion; cerebral palsy; extremely preterm infants
We wanted to assess to what extent concentrations of circulating proteins appear to be developmentally regulated, and to what extent such regulation is influenced by intrauterine inflammation.
We measured 22 proteins in blood obtained on postnatal days 1, 7, and 14 from 818 children born before the 28th week of gestation for whom we also had information about placenta morphology.
Within the narrow gestational age range of this sample, some protein concentrations increase in blood with increasing gestational age. More commonly, the concentrations of inflammation-related proteins decrease with increasing gestational age. We observed this inverse pattern both in children whose placenta was and was not inflamed.
Regardless of whether or not the placenta is inflamed, the concentrations of inflammation-related proteins in early blood specimens appear to be developmentally regulated with the most common pattern being a decrease with increasing gestational age.
To investigate the effects of postnatal dexamethasone treatment (DEX) on aerobic fitness and physical activity levels in school-age children born with very low birth weight (VLBW)
Follow-up study of 65 VLBW infants who participated in a randomized controlled trial of DEX to reduce ventilator dependency. Aerobic fitness was determined from peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak) with a cycle ergometer. Habitual physical activity was assessed by questionnaire.
A trend for a treatment with chronic lung disease diagnosis (CLD) interaction was found with children in the Placebo group with CLD having the lowest VO2peak (p=.09). Fifty-three % of the DEX group and 48% of the Placebo group had reduced fitness. No group differences were found for physical activity. Parental reports suggested that nearly two-thirds of children participated in <1 hour per week of vigorous physical activity which was partially explained by decreased larger airway function (r=0.30, p=0.03).
We found no adverse effect of postnatal DEX on aerobic fitness or habitual physical activity at school-age. However, the reduced fitness and physical activity levels emphasize the need for closer follow-up and early interventions promoting physical activity to reduce risk of chronic disease in this at-risk population.
To evaluate neurodevelopment following necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and late bacteremia, alone and together.
Sample included 1155 infants born at 23-27 weeks’ gestation. NEC was classified by the Modified Bell’s staging criteria and grouped as medical NEC or surgical NEC. Late bacteremia was defined as a positive blood culture after the first postnatal week. Neurodevelopment was assessed at 24 months corrected age. Multivariable models estimated the risk of developmental dysfunction and microcephaly associated with medical or surgical NEC with and without late bacteremia.
Children who had surgical NEC unaccompanied by late bacteremia were at increased risk of Psychomotor Developmental Indices <70 [OR=2.7 (1.2, 6.4)], and children who had both surgical NEC and late bacteremia were at increased risk of diparetic cerebral palsy [OR=8.4 (1.9, 39)] and microcephaly [OR=9.3 (2.2, 40)]. In contrast, children who had medical NEC with or without late bacteremia were not at increased risk of any developmental dysfunction.
The risk of neurodevelopmental dysfunction and microcephaly is increased in children who had surgical NEC, especially if they also had late bacteremia. These observations support the hypothesis that bowel injury might initiate systemic inflammation potentially affecting the developing brain.
Infant, premature; necrotizing enterocolitis; sepsis; neurodevelopment
The authors explored associations between blood gas abnormalities in more than 1,000 preterm infants during the first postnatal days and indicators of neonatal brain damage. During 2002–2004, women delivering infants before 28 weeks’ gestation at one of 14 participating institutions in 5 US states were asked to enroll in the study. The authors compared infants with blood gas values in the highest or lowest quintile for gestational age and postnatal day (extreme value) on at least 1 of the first 3 postnatal days with the remainder of the subjects, with separate analyses for blood gas abnormalities on multiple days and for partial pressure of oxygen in the alveolar gas of <35. Outcomes analyzed were ventriculomegaly and an echolucent lesion on an ultrasound scan in the neonatal intensive care unit, and cerebral palsy, microcephaly, and a low score on a Bayley Scale of Infant Development at 24 months. Every blood gas derangement (hypoxemia, hyperoxemia, hypocapnia, hypercapnia, and acidosis) was associated with multiple indicators of brain damage. However, for some, the associations were seen with only 1 day of exposure; others were evident with 2 or more days’ exposure. Findings suggest that individual blood gas derangements do not increase brain damage risk. Rather, the multiple derangements associated with indicators of brain damage might be indicators of immaturity/vulnerability and illness severity.
blood gas analysis; brain; infant, newborn; leukomalacia, periventricular; premature birth