Plasma lactoferrin levels in newborn preterm infants with sepsis

Abstract

Introduction: Lactoferrin (Lf) is one of the major proteins of all exocrine secretions with a role in the antinfective process. Our aim was to evaluate how plasma Fl levels may change in response to infection in newborn preterm infants.

Methods: A total of 15 (8 females, 7 males) newborn preterm infants with a postnatal age >72 h of life, underwent to blood culture and others markers of infection, for suspected sepsis, were enrolled in the study.

Results: We found that Lf serum concentration was significantly lowest in four neonates (26.7%) with confirmed sepsis than in 11 (73.3%) with clinical sepsis. The AUC was 0.90 (95%CI: 0.63–0.99). The optimal cutoff for Lf was <1.2 μg/ml with a sensibility of 100% and a specificity of 81.8%. Lf serum concentration was positively correlated with WBC or neutrophil (Spearman rho = 0.69 and 0.49, respectively).

Conclusions: Serum Lf could prove a promising, sensitive and specific marker in the diagnostic approach to infants with suspected sepsis, thanks to its role in defense mechanisms and physiological functions of the immune system. Low levels of Lf in sepsis may suggest an immature response due to suboptimal leukocites activity in newborn preterm infants.

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Use of high noninvasive respiratory support pressures in preterm neonates: a single-center experience

Abstract

Purpose: To describe the incidence, indications and clinical outcomes following high pressures on noninvasive respiratory support (NRS) in preterm neonates. Study design: Retrospective cohort study of all neonates with BW <1.500 g admitted from July 2012 to June 2014 and placed on high noninvasive respiratory support (NRS), defined as mean airway pressure ≥10 cm H2O for at least 12 continuous hours using nasal continuous positive airway pressure (NCPAP) and/or nasal high-frequency ventilation (NIHFV). Clinical and physiological outcomes following high NRS were ascertained. Median (IQR) and percentages were used to describe continuous and categorical data, respectively. Results: There were 131 instances of high NRS use in 70 of 315 eligible infants. Most common indication was post-extubation, observed in 37% (49/131) of high NRS instances. Intubation was avoided in 71% (93/131) of instances in the first 7 days following high NRS initiation. There were no physiological perturbations in heart rate, blood pressure or oxygen requirement. Furthermore, there were no instances of lung hyperinflation, pneumothoraces or spontaneous intestinal perforation following high NRS. Conclusion: The use of high NRS pressure was followed by avoidance of intubation in the majority of cases without adverse effects. Further research on high NRS use including its indications, clinical outcomes and safety profile is warranted.

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Early-onset preeclampsia is associated with perinatal mortality and severe neonatal morbidity

Abstract

Objective: To evaluate neonatal outcomes of pregnancies complicated by early-onset preeclampsia (PE) and compare these outcomes to those of gestational age matched neonates born to mothers whose pregnancy was not complicated by early-onset PE.

Methods: We analyzed the outcome in 97 neonates born to mothers with early-onset PE (24–32 weeks amenorrhea at diagnosis) and compared it to that of 680 gestational age-matched neonates born between 25–36 weeks due to other etiologies and admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of a tertiary referral hospital in the Netherlands. We used Chi-square test, Wilcoxon test, and logistic regression analyses.

Results: Neonates born to PE mothers had a higher perinatal mortality (13% vs. 7%, p = 0.03) and infant mortality (16% vs. 9%, p= 0.03), a 20% lower birth weight (1150 vs. 1430 g, p<0.001), were more often SGA (22% vs. 9%, p < 0.001) and had more neonatal complications as compared to neonates born to mothers without PE.

Conclusions: Overall adverse perinatal outcome is significantly worse in neonates born to mothers with early-onset PE. The effect of early-onset PE on perinatal mortality seems partially due to SGA. Whether these differences are due to uteroplacental factors or intrinsic neonatal factors remains to be elucidated.

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Obstetric and neonatal characteristics of pregnancy and delivery for infant birthweight ≥5.0 kg

Abstract

Aim: Infant birthweight ≥5.0 kg represents a significant risk factor for mother and neonate. The objective of this study was to examine the obstetric and neonatal outcome measures in a large cohort of such deliveries.

Methods: The data used for this study were prospectively entered into an obstetric computerized database during the period 1989–2013. All pregnancies where the delivery resulted in an infant weighing ≥5.0 kg were identified. The results were retrospectively analyzed separately for parity, and a separate analysis was performed comparing the outcome measures observed in the earlier years of the study with those of the later years.

Results: There were 73,796 deliveries in the time period of which there were n = 201 (0.3%) infants with birth weight ≥5.0 kg. The mean maternal body mass index (BMI) was in the obese category range (30.9 kg/m2) and the median gestation at delivery was 40.8 weeks. The cesarean delivery rate for nulliparous women was 56.3% and for parous women 30.8%. The overall rate of third degree perineal tears was 3.8%, the rate of shoulder dystocia was 4.6% and the rate of Erb’s Palsy was 1.5%. There was a significant increase in cesarean delivery in the latter of the study (26.7% versus 43.0%, p = 0.02), due to an increase in the planned pre-labor cesarean deliveries (30.0 versus 12.9%, p = 0.005). There was no difference in adverse outcomes in both groups.

Conclusion: These findings describe the features of pregnancy associated with infant birthweight ≥5.0 kg, and outline reliable maternal and neonatal morbidity data for these pregnancies. In this cohort, there was no apparent benefit from increased planned pre-labor cesarean delivery rates.

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Risk of neonatal and childhood morbidity among preterm infants exposed to marijuana

Abstract

Background: Limited data exist regarding the neonatal and neurodevelopmental outcomes of infants exposed to marijuana (MJ) in-utero, particularly among preterm infants. We hypothesized that MJ-exposed preterm infants would have worse neonatal and childhood developmental outcomes compared to MJ-unexposed infants.

Methods: Secondary analysis of multicenter randomized-controlled trial of antenatal magnesium sulfate for the prevention of cerebral palsy was conducted. Singleton nonanomalous infants delivered <35 weeks exposed to MJ in-utero were compared to MJ-unexposed. Primary neonatal outcome was death, grade 3/4 intraventricular hemorrhage, periventricular leukomalacia, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, and/or stage II/III necrotizing enterocolitis before discharge. Primary childhood outcome was death, moderate/severe cerebral palsy, or/and Bayley II Scales <70 at age 2. Backward-stepwise regression used to estimate odds of primary outcomes.

Results: 1867 infants met inclusion criteria; 135(7.2%) were MJ-exposed. There were no differences in neonatal (20% vs. 26%, p = 0.14) or childhood (26% vs. 21%, p = 0.21) outcomes in MJ-exposed infants compared to MJ-unexposed infants. In adjusted models, MJ-exposure was not associated with adverse neonatal outcomes (aOR 0.83 95% CI 0.47,1.44) or early childhood outcomes (aOR 1.47, 95% CI 0.97,2.23).

Conclusions: Among infants born <35 weeks of gestation, MJ-exposure was not associated with adverse neonatal or childhood outcomes. Long-term follow-up studies are needed to assess later childhood neurodevelopmental outcomes following MJ-exposure.

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Heart Rate Variability as a Feeding Intervention Outcome Measure in the Preterm Infant

 Feeding interventions for preterm infants aim to reduce the physiologic stress of feeding to promote growth. Heart rate variability (HRV) is a potential noninvasive measure of physiologic stress that may be useful for evaluating efficacy of feeding interventions.

Purpose: To evaluate whether HRV is a sensitive measure of physiologic stress compared with standard physiologic outcomes in the context of a feeding intervention study.

Methods: This was a secondary analysis of a within-subjects, cross-over design study comparing usual care feeding with a gentle, coregulated (CoReg) feeding approach in 14 infants born less than 35 weeks’ postmenstrual age. HRV indices were calculated from electrocardiogram data and compared with standard physiologic outcomes, including oxygen saturation (Spo2), respiratory rate (RR), apnea, heart rate (HR), and bradycardia. Data were analyzed using linear mixed modeling.

Results: Infants fed using the CoReg approach had fewer apneic events and higher RR, suggesting they were able to breathe more during feeding. No statistically significant differences were found in SpO2, HR, bradycardia, or high frequency power (the most commonly reported measure of HRV). Infants fed using the usual care approach had significantly higher SD12, a measure of HRV indicating randomness in the HR, which is a potential indicator of elevated stress.

Implications for Practice: SD12 was more sensitive to stress than SpO2, HR, and bradycardia. The utility of HRV as a measure of feeding outcomes in clinical practice needs further exploration.

Implications for Research: Further exploration of HRV as an intervention outcome measure is needed, particularly evaluating nonlinear indices, such as SD12

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Healthcare Professionals’ Attitudes and Practices in Supporting and Promoting the Breastfeeding of Preterm Infants in NICUs

Breastfeeding preterm infants is shown to have important health benefits for both infants and mothers. A positive relationship between mothers and healthcare teams and supportive practices tend to facilitate maternal competence and promote early initiation of breastfeeding within neonatal intensive care units (NICUs).

The aim of this study was to understand attitudes and behaviors of healthcare professionals toward breastfeeding practices and supporting mothers of preterm infants.

Data analysis suggests that while staff members agree with the benefits of breastfeeding for preterm infants, the actual implementation of a breastfeeding policy within NICUs is problematic. Three key themes emerged. The first described the contradiction that exists between the staff beliefs and behaviors in relation to breastfeeding and supporting mothers. The second theme was related to staff working conditions, which described the lack of institutional support and barriers to supporting breastfeeding. The final theme of controlling relationships captured the essence of the practitioner to mother association. Together, these elements revealed a situation whereby the staff appeared more preoccupied with addressing the task of caring for the babies than with supporting mothers in feeding and subsequently caring for their preterm children.

Implications for Practice: The institutional barriers to breastfeeding promotion within NICUs should be addressed by healthcare providers. Actions that provide a supportive environment within NICUs for both mothers and nurses are essential to improve the overall quality of care.

Implications for Research: Future research may include an examination of hospital policies and practices of promoting breastfeeding for preterm infants.

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