The views expressed in documents by named authors are solely the responsibility of those authors.
Download in Microsoft WORD 6.0 format
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PREVENTION AND MANAGEMENT 1
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 4
1. Historical background 6
This review has been compiled by Anthony F. Williams, DPhil, FRCP, Senior Lecturer & Consultant in Neonatal Paediatrics, St. George's Hospital Medical School, London, UK.
The following experts commented on the draft document and provided valuable suggestions: Professor Anna Alisyahbana (School of Medicine, Padjadjaran University, Bandung), Professor A. Aynsley-Green (Institute of Child Health, London), Dr Anthony Costello (Institute of Child Health, London), Dr Armida Fernandes (Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College, Bombay), Dr Jane Hawdon (University College Hospital, London), Professor W.W. Hay (University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Colorado), Dr Jane E. McGowan (University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia), Dr A. Mehta (Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee), Dr M. Ward Platt (The Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle), and Dr S.N. Vani (B.J. Medical College and Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad).
1. Early and exclusive breastfeeding is safe to meet the nutritional needs of healthy term newborns worldwide.
2. Healthy term newborns who are breastfeeding on demand need not have their blood glucose routinely checked and need no supplementary foods or fluids.
3. Healthy term newborns do not develop "symptomatic" hypoglycaemia as a result of simple underfeeding. If an infant develops signs suggesting hypoglycaemia (see point 17), look for an underlying condition. Detection and treatment of the cause is as important as correction of the blood glucose level.
4. Thermal protection (the maintenance of normal body temperature) in addition to breastfeeding is necessary to prevent hypoglycaemia.
5. Breastfeeding should be initiated as soon as an infant is ready, preferably within 1 hour of birth. Immediately after birth the baby should be dried and held against the mother's chest with skin-to-skin contact to provide warmth and to facilitate the initiation of breastfeeding.
6. Breastfeeding should continue on demand. Healthy term newborns show signs of readiness to feed when they are hungry, but the interval between feeds varies considerably, particularly in the first few days of life. There is no evidence that long interfeed intervals adversely affect healthy newborns who are kept warm and who are breastfed when they show signs of hunger. An infant who shows no signs of hunger or is unwilling to feed should be examined to exclude underlying illness.
7. Newborns at risk of hypoglycaemia include those who are preterm and/or small for gestational age (SGA), those who suffered intrapartum asphyxia or who are sick, and those born to diabetic mothers.
8. In newborns at risk, hypoglycaemia is most likely to occur in the first 24 hours of life, as the infant adapts to extrauterine life. Hypoglycaemia which presents after the first day of life, or which persists or recurs, does not necessarily indicate inadequate feeding. It may indicate underlying disease such as infection, or a wide range of other conditions (see Table 3 of main document). Reference should be made to standard texts.
9. For newborns at risk, breastmilk is the safest and nutritionally most appropriate food. However it may need to be supplemented with specific nutrients for some very low birth weight infants.
10. At-risk newborns who have a gestational age of 32 weeks or more or who weigh more than 1500 g at birth, may be able to breastfeed sufficiently to satisfy their nutritional needs (but see also point 12). If healthy, they should be given the opportunity to breastfeed within 1 hour of birth like term babies.
11. At-risk newborns able to suckle sufficiently should continue to breastfeed when they show signs of hunger. However, they should not be allowed to wait more than 3 hours between feeds. Normal body temperature should be carefully maintained.
12. At-risk newborns not able to suckle adequately and obtain all the milk that they need from the breast, but well enough for oral feeds, can be fed expressed breastmilk (EBM), or if necessary an appropriate breastmilk substitute, by cup or by gavage (orogastric or nasogastric tube feeding). Feeds should commence within 3 hours of birth, and should continue at least 3 hourly thereafter.
[ Reference should be made to "standard texts" for details of the feeding of newborns who are less than 32 weeks gestational age, or who are very low birth weight, who are sick or born to diabetic mothers, or who are unable to feed enterally]
13. For newborns at risk, the blood glucose concentration should be measured at around 4-6 hours after birth, before a feed, if reliable laboratory measurements are available. Measurements using glucose-oxidase based reagent paper strips have poor sensitivity and specificity in newborns, and should not be relied upon as an alternative.
14. For newborns at risk who do not show abnormal clinical signs ("asymptomatic"), the blood glucose concentration should preferably be maintained at or above 2.6 mmol l-1 (47 mg /100 ml).
If the blood glucose concentration is below 2.6 mmol l-1:
§ The blood glucose measurement should be repeated preferably after 1 hour and certainly before the next feed 3 hours later. If it is still below 2.6 mmol l-1, treatment with intravenous glucose should be considered.
§ If facilities for administering intravenous glucose are not readily available, a supplementary feed should be given by cup or gavage.
§ Breastfeeding should continue.
16. If a newborn is unwell or shows signs of hypoglycaemia: apnoea, cyanosis, jitteriness, or convulsions ("symptomatic hypoglycaemia"), the above guidelines are superseded. Blood glucose should be measured urgently, and if it is below 2.6 mmol l-1, intravenous glucose should be administered as soon as possible.
17. For management of "symptomatic hypoglycaemia," when intravenous treatment is indicated and feasible, give 10% glucose intravenously. Monitor the blood glucose, and adjust the rate of infusion accordingly. Continue normal feeding as soon as possible.
18. If reliable blood glucose measurement is not possible, intravenous glucose should be reserved for the treatment of major complications associated with hypoglycaemia (e.g. convulsions) and for situations in which enteral feeds are contra-indicated. Enteral treatment is otherwise preferable.
Further details about the above procedures will be found in the main
document - "Hypoglycaemia of the Newborn: Review of the Literature"
(WHO/CHD/97.1) ( WHO/MSM/97.1).
Definition of terms
Exclusive breastfeeding: An infant is given no food or drink, including water, other than breastmilk, (except any medicinal drops or syrups which may be indicated).
Preterm: Born before 37 completed weeks of gestation.
Small for gestational age (SGA): Birth weight below the l0th percentile for infants of the same gestational age in the same population.
Very low birth weight: Birth weight less than 1500 grams.
(Section 2.2; Section 3.2)
3. A "normal range" for blood glucose values in the newborn has not been properly defined. Values are influenced by birth weight, gestational age, feeding method and postnatal age. Few studies have been made of breastfed infants and they do not define feeding patterns or milk intake. (Section 4.1)
4. There is controversy over the definition of a "safe" blood glucose concentration, i.e. a value below which there is risk of long-term neurodevelopmental impairment. Hypoglycaemia associated with abnormal clinical signs (symptomatic hypoglycaemia) has a poor short- and long-term outcome but evidence of risk in the absence of clinical signs (asymptomatic hypoglycaemia) is inconclusive. This is to be expected as maintenance of cerebral function depends as much on ability to mobilise alternative fuels (e.g. ketones) as on blood glucose concentration. (Chapter 1; Chapter 3)
5. It follows that the anticipated maturity of the counterregulatory response and the presence or absence of symptoms are as influential as the blood glucose concentration in deciding whether to treat. A rigid definition of hypoglycaemia relevant to all clinical situations cannot be made.
6. There is no evidence that low blood glucose concentrations among healthy breastfed term babies are detrimental to outcome. Healthy term babies who are breastfed on demand require no food or drink other than breastmilk. (Section 6.2.1)
7. All infants should be fed as soon as possible after birth. Those who are healthy and mature enough to suckle should be offered a breastfeed. There is some evidence that breastmilk promotes ketogenesis more vigorously than formula. (Section 2.3)
8. Screening for hypoglycaemia using glucose-oxidase based reagent strips has poor sensitivity and specificity. It is preferable to make occasional pre-feed laboratory measurements of blood glucose in infants at risk. Screening healthy, breastfed, term infants for hypoglycaemia is furthermore inappropriate because a normal range of blood glucose values has not been defined. (Section 4.1; Section 5.1.6)
9. Some evidence suggests that preterm babies and babies who are small for gestational age show a constrained counterregulatory response to hypoglycaemia. Detection and treatment of hypoglycaemia in these groups is therefore important. Other groups of infants at risk of early hypoglycaemia are those who are infected, who have suffered intrapartum asphyxia and who are infants of diabetic mothers. Supplementary feeding may be required both to prevent and treat hypoglycaemia in these groups. Hypoglycaemia which recurs or persists longer than 48-72 hours of age suggests an underlying medical condition (e.g. inborn error of metabolism or endocrine disorder). (Section 2.3; Chapter 6; Chapter 7)
10. Infants at risk of hypoglycaemia and who are mature enough to suckle should be breastfed on demand. A blood glucose estimation should be made before a feed at around 4-6 hours of age. Current evidence suggests that supplementary feeding should be considered if the value falls below 2.6 mmol l-1 though there is no conclusive evidence that brief exposure to lower levels is harmful in asymptomatic infants. A blood glucose measurement should be repeated 1 hour after feeding. If the blood glucose value still lies below 2.6 mmol l-1, treatment with an intravenous glucose infusion is necessary. (Section 6.2; Section 7.1)
11. Infants too immature to suckle should be given supplementary feeds either by cup or by gavage. Breastmilk or formula is preferable to dextrose water as it has greater energy density and contains fat which promotes ketogenesis and reduces glucose oxidation. The volume of milk administered should be 60 ml kg-1 d-1 on the first day, 90 ml kg-1 d-1 on the second day, 120 ml kg-1 d-1 on the third and 150 ml kg-1 d-1 on the fourth. Infants in stable condition without respiratory distress may tolerate larger volumes, starting with 100 ml kg-1 d-1 on the first day. Blood glucose concentration should be measured at 4-6 hours of age. (Section 6.2)
12. Sick infants who have clinical features which contraindicate enteral feeding (e.g cardiorespiratory instability; abdominal distension) should receive an intravenous infusion of 10% dextrose, commencing at 60 ml kg-1 d-1. This quantity of glucose (4 mg kg-1 min-1) will maintain normoglycaemia in the majority of infants of appropriate weight for gestational age. The infusion rate should be adjusted according to blood glucose concentration. (Section 6.2; Section 7.1)
13. Screening and supplementary feeding are inappropriate for infants who are healthy but large for gestational age, unless known to be infants of diabetic mothers. (Section 5.3; Section 5.4; Section 6.2.5)
1. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
Estimating the exact frequency of asymptomatic hypoglycaemia obviously begs the question of numerical definition. This is addressed in Section 4 but it is worth noting at this juncture that transitional hypoglycaemia is a common problem observed in both industrialised and less-developed countries. Formal studies in the latter are few. However, Anderson et al (1993) observed that 38% of uncomplicated term infants born in Kathmandu, Nepal showed a blood glucose concentration of <2.6 mmol l-1 during the first 50 hours of life. An approach aimed first at the prevention of hypoglycaemia, second at its reliable detection in newborns at risk and third at appropriate treatment which will not be deleterious to breastfeeding is thus of global importance.
In a large retrospective case-control study Koivisto (1972) and colleagues followed 151 cases of neonatal hypoglycaemia (defined as a blood glucose concentration of <30 mg dl-1) for up to four years. The control series consisted of 56 concurrently treated asymptomatic newborns with no hypoglycaemia or neonatal disease. Ninety-four per cent of 66 asymptomatic hypoglycaemia subjects and 95% of controls were classified as developmentally normal at follow-up. Among the 85 who had suffered symptomatic hypoglycaemia, only 50% of those presenting with convulsions (8 infants) and 88% of those with non-convulsive symptoms were developmentally normal. This study therefore identified no important neurodevelopmental abnormalities in infants with asymptomatic hypoglycaemia. The authors stressed the tendency of symptomatic hypoglycaemia to present later in the clinical course than asymptomatic. Similar conclusions were drawn in a recently published Indian follow-up study of 107 cases of asymptomatic or symptomatic neonatal hypoglycaemia (Singh et al, 1991).
Pildes et al (1974) studied the effect of treatment on prognosis in a prospective study of 39 cases. 41 controls were selected in the first week of life, matched as far as possible for sex, weight, gestation, ethnic group, mode of delivery, condition at birth, serum chemistry and birth date. At follow-up (5 to 7 years of age) "adequately treated" hypoglycaemia was the sole identifiable factor associated with neurological sequelae in only two cases. Unfortunately, despite strenuous efforts to match cases and controls prospectively, there was a striking difference in the number of small for gestational age infants (cases 72.2%, controls 28.8%). This emphasises the weakness of case-control methodology in studying whether hypoglycaemia itself affects outcome or is merely a proxy for other risk factors. Sinclair (Cornblath et al 1990) has recently pointed out that all studies to date have been too flawed to demonstrate definitive correlation between hypoglycaemia and developmental outcome. A randomised intervention study seems likely to be the only means of studying this problem adequately.
2.1 The fetal nutritional and metabolic environment
The rate of placental fatty acid transport varies between species in proportion to adiposity of the newborn. Fat oxidation is believed quantitatively less important than amino acid/glucose oxidation, and rates of ketone body production are low during fetal life (Hay, 1991). The fetal endocrine milieu is dominated by insulin. Insulin does not cross the placenta, fetal secretion being influenced by concentrations of both glucose and amino acids in fetal plasma. The fetal insulin axis is therefore independent of the mother's. The b-cells of the fetal pancreas become responsive to glucose relatively late in gestation and b-cell mass increases markedly in the last trimester of pregnancy. It has been speculated that this may be a critical developmental period at which substrate provision programmes pancreatic islet development irreversibly influencing the metabolic response to glucose in later life and predisposing to certain patterns of adult disease (Hales & Barker, 1992). Insulin promotes anabolism in the fetus by stimulating uptake of glucose into muscle and adipose tissue (Table 1). Thus the last trimester of pregnancy is a period of rapid fetal growth, particularly deposition of fat in adipose tissue. In this way, energy stores are laid down in preparation for birth.
|Glucose uptake into muscle
Glucose uptake into adipose tissue
Release of amino acids from muscle
Release of fatty acids from adipose tissue
2.2 The regulation of blood glucose concentration after birth
2.2.1 Glycogen metabolism. Glycogen may be synthesised either directly from glucose or indirectly from other precursors such as lactate, pyruvate and glycerol. The balance between glycogen synthesis and breakdown is determined by the relative activities of glycogen synthase and phosphorylase respectively. A protein kinase, activated by increased cAMP concentrations in the hepatocyte, simultaneously activates hepatic phosphorylase and inactivates glycogen synthase. Thus, a rise in hepatocyte cAMP levels stimulates glycogen breakdown; a fall stimulates glycogen synthesis.
Changes in hepatocyte cAMP levels are effected by the hormones which regulate glucose metabolism. These fall into two groups: insulin and the so-called counterregulatory hormones (Tables 1 & 2).
2.2.3 Peripheral glucose utilisation. Most tissues, including brain, take up glucose in proportion to the concentration gradient across the cell membrane, but in muscle, adipose tissue, and liver the process is insulin sensitive. Intracellular glucose is phosphorylated to glucose-6-phosphate (G6P) through the action of hexokinase. When cells oxidise fat cytoplasmic glucose-6-phosphate (G6P) concentrations increase, inhibiting hexokinase and reducing the cell's ability to "trap" glucose by phosphorylation. Thus provision of fat both reduces glucose uptake into cells and favours gluconeogenesis in the liver.
2.2.4 Turnover of glucose: the balance between production and utilisation. In recent years it has been possible to measure rates of glucose production in newborn infants using stable (non-radioactive) isotopes of glucose labelled with deuterium (2H) or 13C (6,62H2 glucose, 1-13C glucose and U-13C glucose). Experiments with 2H tracers yield estimates of glucose production about 15% higher than those obtained with 13C tracers, as some 13C is recycled through the Cori cycle. Using 6,62H2 glucose, Bier et al (1977) estimated the rate of glucose production in infants over 1 day old as 4.3-8.5 mg kg-1 min-1. In contrast, Kalhan et al (1976) obtained a figure of 3.8-4.9 mg kg-1 min-1 using 1-13C glucose in 2 hour old infants. Gluconeogenesis is certainly demonstrable on the second day of life in healthy term newborns. Denne & Kalhan (1986) used D-[U-13C]-glucose to measure glucose production rates on the second day of life in infants starved for 9 hours. They estimated the proportion of glucose manufactured from re-cycled glucose (measured from 13C-1 enrichment) as approximately 36% or 1.87 0.74 mg kg-1 min-1 of the total glucose production rate of 5.02 0.41 mg kg-1 min-1.
Subsequent studies using 6,62H2 glucose have found comparable glucose production rates in appropriate weight for gestational age (AGA) preterm and term infants (mean s.d.: 3.5 0.4 mg kg-1 min-1 and 3.5 0.3 mg kg-1 min-1 respectively). In the same experiment small for gestational age (SGA) infants showed higher rates of glucose production (4.3 1.0 mg kg-1 min-1). It has been suggested that this reflects the higher brain: body mass ratio of SGA babies (Kalhan et al, 1986) and that glucose requirements correlate more closely with brain than body weight (Bier et al, 1977).
Infusion of glucose into adults suppresses endogenous glucose production both through a direct effect of glucose concentration and through enhancement of insulin secretion (see 2.2.2 above). The same phenomenon has been observed in normal newborn infants though the degree of suppression is very variable and less marked in sick, stressed infants, particularly those who are very preterm (Cowett et al 1983; Sunehag et al, 1994). This probably demonstrates variable expression of the counterregulatory response in hypoglycaemic and stressed newborns.
2.2.5 Summary. Moment-to-moment endocrine control of blood glucose concentration is achieved through the opposing actions of insulin and glucagon. Adrenaline "boosts" the counterregulatory response during stress. Other hormones act permissively; cortisol has little, short-term, direct effect on blood glucose concentrations but the effect of glucagon is reduced in cortisol deficiency. Substrate concentrations directly affect the rate at which gluconeogenesis proceeds. Administration of glucose suppresses gluconeogenesis whereas it is activated by lactate, pyruvate and glucogenic amino acids. Increased oxidation of non-esterified fatty acids facilitates gluconeogenesis indirectly in the liver by increasing acetyl CoA and NADH concentrations. It also reduces peripheral glucose requirements.
Metabolic substrates. Data on metabolic substrate concentrations during early postnatal adaptation in the human newborn are relatively few and many date from the era in which early starvation was fashionable and feeding (usually with formula) was postponed for hours or days after birth (Beard et al, 1966; Melichar et al, 1967; Persson & Gentz, 1966; Stanley et al, 1979; Anday et al, 1981). Principal findings of these studies were, first, that blood glucose concentration falls with the duration of starvation and, second, that the concentrations of other metabolic substrates (free fatty acids, ketone bodies and glycerol) rise as blood glucose concentration falls.
For example, Beard et al (1966) alternately allocated term and preterm infants to an "early feeding" group (fed with formula from 6 hours of age) and a group fasted for 72 hours. Mean blood glucose concentration at 72 hours was 40 mg dl-1 (2.2 mmol l-1) in the fasted term infants, as compared to 68 mg dl-1 (3.8 mmol l-1) in the "early-fed" group. 58% of the fasted premature infants had a blood glucose concentration of <25 mg dl-1 (1.4 mmol l-1) by 72 hours of age, as compared to only 4% (1 infant) among the early-fed group; though no complications were noted. The fasted group also showed a reduced increment in blood glucose concentration on injection of glucagon and adrenaline, suggesting a relative reduction in their glycogen stores. Free fatty acid concentrations nevertheless rose in the fasted infants and over 50% of the fasted healthy premature infants showed ketonuria by 48-72 hours of age. Persson & Gentz (1966) similarly noted increases in free fatty acid, glycerol and ketone body levels among fasted term infants. The highest values were noted in babies with the lowest blood glucose concentrations. Increases in the concentration of glucogenic precursors (alanine and lactate) and ketone body concentrations with starvation at this time of life are nevertheless smaller than those in older children with similarly low glucose levels (Stanley et al, 1979; Anday et al, 1981). Moreover it is important to emphasise that the "premature" babies of thirty years ago were probably more mature as a group than preterm infants of today whose adaptive capacity may be even less well developed.
More recently Hawdon et al (1992) conducted a cross-sectional study of whole blood glucose concentration among 156 healthy term babies. This work is of importance for many reasons. Firstly, infants were demand-fed. Secondly, breastfed babies were studied (46% of the sample). Thirdly, metabolic substrates other than glucose (glycerol, lactate, pyruvate, alanine, non-esterified fatty acids, ketone bodies) were measured. Finally, infants were studied throughout the first week and not only in the first eight hours (Stanley et al, 1979) to three days (Beard et al, 1966; Anday et al, 1981). It was shown convincingly that although healthy term breastfed babies had significantly lower blood glucose concentrations than those who were bottle-fed (breastfed: mean 3.6 mmol l-1, range 1.5-5.3 mmol l-1; bottle-fed: mean 4.0 mmol l-1, range 2.5-6.2 mmol l-1), their ketone body concentrations were elevated in response. A statistically significant negative correlation between [log] ketone body and blood glucose concentration was measured at 2-3 days of age, but not within the first 24 hours or after 3 days. Lucas et al (1981) also found breastfed babies to have significantly higher ketone body concentrations than formula-fed babies studied on the sixth day of life.
In summary, blood glucose concentration falls in babies who are not fed. But healthy term babies of appropriate weight for gestation (AGA) mobilise alternative metabolic substrates (free fatty acids and ketone bodies) in response. Breastfed babies as a group have lower blood glucose concentrations (referred to later as "suckling hypoglycaemia") and higher ketone body levels than those who are bottle-fed. It is not clear whether this reflects specific promotion of ketogenesis (e.g. by breastmilk fat or another milk component), or whether it is simply the result of differences in blood glucose concentrations and postprandial increments in plasma insulin concentration.
Reasons for the preterm infant's propensity to hypoglycaemia are many. First, energy reserves at birth, both as liver glycogen and fat, are greatly reduced. Differences in fat content are particularly important; fat accounts for only 2% of body weight at 28 weeks of gestation but about 16% at term. Although fat is not itself convertible to glucose, mobilisation and oxidation of fat reduces glucose uptake and oxidation (Section 2.2.3).
Second, recent evidence indicates that preterm infants show plasma insulin concentrations greater than those of term infants when related to plasma glucose concentration. It appears that the elevated insulin: glucose ratio and relative immaturity of ketogenesis persist for some months after birth (Deshpande et al, 1994). This phenomenon is unexplained though it is possible that the greater protein intake of preterm infants, necessary to match their faster growth potential, is an insulinogenic stimulus. It has been known for some years that insulin secretion in term infants (as reflected by C-peptide excretion) is modified by dietary protein intake and related to plasma valine: glycine ratio (Ginsburg et al, 1985).
Third, it is likely that gluconeogenic pathways are less mature than in term infants. For example, expression of microsomal glucose-6-phosphatase was reduced in liver necropsy samples obtained from preterm infants up to 1 year of age and ranging between 24-36 weeks of gestation at birth. This enzyme catalyses the final step of both glycogenolysis and gluconeogenesis (Hume & Burchell, 1993).
Given the increased risk of hypoglycaemia associated with preterm birth, some recent research has focused on the adequacy of the counterregulatory response. Hawdon et al (1993) studied 62 clinically stable preterm babies (median gestation 31 weeks, range 25-36 weeks; median birth weight 1760 g, range 830-3203 g). Non-esterified fatty acid and ketone body concentrations of preterm infants were significantly lower than those of term infants. Moreover, preterm infants with low blood glucose levels did not show increased ketone body concentrations as did infants born at term. The range of gestational age in this study is remarkable. At 36 weeks of gestation a dramatic increase in ketogenic potential appeared, but this cross-sectional observational study does not make clear whether this is a developmental event, or whether it simply reflects differences in the clinical management of babies <36 weeks of gestation. It may be recalled (see Section 2.3) that Beard et al (1966) observed ketonuria in over 50% of premature infants after prolonged fasting (48-72 hours). However, blood ketone concentrations were not measured.
In summary, preterm infants show an increased incidence of hypoglycaemia and a reduced capacity to mobilise alternative metabolic fuels. From the point of view of managing breastfeeding in mildly preterm infants (32-36 weeks gestation), more data on maturation of the counterregulatory response are required if excessive intervention is to be avoided.
2.4.2 Small for gestational age (SGA) infants. This group has long been recognised to be at increased risk of neonatal hypoglycaemia (Cornblath et al, 1959). More recently hypoglycaemia has been detected during fetal life among infants small for gestational age at birth. Factors which may account for this include a high brain:body mass ratio (with corresponding increase in glucose consumption), reduced fat stores, failure of counterregulation (including delayed maturation of gluconeogenesis) and hyperinsulinism.
Kalhan et al (1986) noted SGA infants in the basal (fasting) state on the first day of life to have significantly higher rates of endogenous glucose production (4.25 0.98 mg kg-1 min-1) than appropriate weight for gestational age (AGA) infants (3.53 0.32 mg kg-1 min-1; p <0.03). It was suggested that this reflected the greater brain weight of SGA infants relative to AGA infants. Several studies have shown that SGA infants, when compared to AGA infants, have increased plasma concentrations of glucogenic substrate (Lindblad, 1970; Lindblad et al 1970; Haymond et al, 1974; Mestyan et al, 1975). Amongst the glucogenic substrates, alanine and lactate levels particularly were increased. When alanine is infused into SGA infants it disappears more slowly than in normal, AGA full-term newborns (Mestyan et al, 1975) and has less effect on blood glucose concentrations (Sann et al, 1978). These changes are most marked in the early hours of life, and it has been suggested that they reflect a delay in the maturation of glucogenic pathways, in particular the induction of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK) (Haymond et al, 1974). Hawdon & Ward Platt (1993), in a longitudinal study of 33 SGA infants throughout the first postnatal week, found that increased blood levels of lactate and other total gluconeogenic substrates persisted until the fourth postnatal day in preterm SGA infants but fell within the first 24 hours in term SGA infants thereafter being lower than those of AGA infants. This seems consistent with the hypothesis that elevated concentrations of gluconeogenic substrates reflect delayed maturation of gluconeogenic pathways in SGA infants, particularly those born preterm.
At birth, ketone body concentrations of SGA and AGA infants do not appear to differ; though by 24 hours of age (Haymond et al, 1974), and throughout the first postnatal week (Hawdon & Ward Platt, 1993) ketone body levels of both term and preterm SGA infants remain low relative to those seen in AGA infants at equivalent blood glucose concentrations. Whether this reflects an inability of the SGA infant to mount a ketogenic response, or just more aggressive attention to nutritional management and prevention of hypoglycaemia among the infants studied, is open to debate. In the studies of Hawdon & Ward Platt (1993) fewer SGA than AGA infants had a blood glucose concentration <3 mmol l-1.
There is some evidence that SGA infants with abnormal metabolic adaptation are those in whom Doppler studies identify abnormal end diastolic flow velocities (EDV) in the umbilical artery. Hawdon et al (1992) found that a group of 11 fetuses with absent EDV showed lower blood glucose and free fatty acid concentrations in the first six hours of life than a group of 14 control SGA infants with normal EDV. In this small study, the group with absent EDV had lower mean birth weight (1525 g, range 668-2020 g vs. 1903 g, 859-2296 g); though the difference did not attain statistical significance (p = 0.065).
Endocrine adaptation in SGA babies has also been studied by several authors. Most have shown no differences between AGA and SGA infants in insulin and glucagon concentrations, though the range seen in both populations is wide. Nevertheless some SGA babies appear to have both high plasma insulin concentrations and high glucose requirements, consistent with hyperinsulinism (LeDune, 1972; Collins & Leonard, 1984; Collins et al, 1990). A prospective study of SGA infants admitted to a single neonatal unit over one year found that 10 of 27 became hypoglycaemic and that half of them had inappropriately high plasma insulin concentration at the time of hypoglycaemia (Collins et al, 1990). Although the assay used did not discriminate insulin from its propeptides, and hence may have overestimated the "true" insulin concentration (Hawdon et al, 1995), low plasma free fatty acid concentrations and high glucose requirements (exceeding 10 mg kg-1 min-1 in two infants) provided functional evidence of hyperinsulinism.
Some of the babies also showed low plasma glucagon concentrations, raising the possibility that failure of the glucagon surge after birth plays as great a part in the aetiology of hypoglycaemia in SGA infants as does hyperinsulinism (Mehta, 1991). Mestyan et al (1976) studied this possibility by infusing glucagon into normoglycaemic and hypoglycaemic SGA infants. Only the former group responded by showing a reduction in concentration of glucogenic amino acids. It was suggested that SGA infants may show glucagon resistance (see Section 7.3.1).
2.4.3 Stress hypoglycaemia. Hypoglycaemia may be present in a number of neonatal conditions associated with severe stress. The most common are sepsis and perinatal asphyxia, but it is also seen in congenital heart disease (heart failure and severe cyanotic heart disease) and neonatal cold injury with fat necrosis.
Although the catecholamine response to stress is a central feature of counterregulation, peripheral circulatory failure in sepsis and asphyxia may lead to both reduced mobilisation of substrate from the periphery and accumulation of lactate in the presence of anaerobic glycolysis. This leads to exhaustion of liver glycogen and reduced capacity for gluconeogenesis which may be compounded by anoxic liver injury. Hyperinsulinism and increased insulin sensitivity may also be present in these circumstances.
2.4.4 Transient hyperinsulinism. Hypoglycaemia associated with transient hyperinsulinism is seen most commonly among infants born to diabetic mothers. It is also seen in infants affected by erythroblastosis fetalis. Iatrogenic factors, including the use of glucose infusions in labour and maternal administration of b-sympathomimetics, may give rise to maternal hyperglycaemia and associated fetal hyperinsulinism. Less commonly, hyperinsulinism is associated with the rare Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome or may be idiopathic.
The macrosomic infant of the diabetic mother (IDM) has a characteristic habitus. Whereas the infant who is simply large for dates has proportionate increases in both brain size and abdominal circumference, the macrosomic IDM has increased muscle, fat and liver mass as might be predicted from the known effects of insulin (Table 1). Thus, in fetal life the IDM has an increase in abdominal circumference: head circumference ratio (Fraser, 1994). For many years fetal hyperinsulinism has been ascribed to maternal, and consequent fetal, hyperglycaemia (Pedersen et al, 1954). More recently it has been speculated that other factors, including amino acid concentrations, must operate as mid-trimester human pancreatic tissue shows little insulin response to glucose concentration in vitro (Milner et al, 1972). The risk of hypoglycaemia in the neonatal period (Farquhar, 1956) may be reduced by careful control of maternal blood glucose concentration during pregnancy but is still greater in IDM of appropriate weight for gestational age than in the normal neonatal population. Hyperinsulinism leads to reduced concentrations of free fatty acids and ketone bodies in association with hypoglycaemia, which reflects both an increased rate of glucose uptake and a reduced rate of glucose production (Kalhan et al, 1977). A reduced postnatal glucagon surge appears to accompany the hyperinsulinism (Williams et al, 1979).
Some aspects of obstetric management may result in transient hyperinsulinism and hypoglycaemia among otherwise normal infants. Lucas et al (1980) found that intravenous infusion of >10 g glucose h-1 during labour was associated with significantly increased cord blood insulin concentration. Subsequent randomised trials investigating the effect on blood glucose concentrations and incidence of hypoglycaemia in the newborn have been reviewed by DiGiacomo & Hay (1992). When mothers were infused with >25 g glucose h-1 in the 2 hours prior to delivery there was a 17% mean increase (95% CI 5, 30) in the incidence of hypoglycaemia (blood glucose <2.2 mmol l-1). Blood glucose in the baby was a mean 0.8 mmol l-1 (95% CI 0.5, 1.1) lower at 2 hours of age than in babies born to mothers who had received no glucose. The difference at 1 hour of age was not statistically significant. Smaller differences in 2 hour blood glucose concentrations were also apparent in the baby even when <25 g glucose h-1 had been infused (mean 0.4 mmol l-1, 95% CI 0, 0.8), though the incidence of hypoglycaemia was not significantly different (mean odds ratio 2.6, 95% CI 0.61, 11.34).
Both prolonged oral (Epstein et al, 1979), and short-term intravenous, administration of b-agonists (Procianoy & Pinheiro, 1982) used to suppress preterm labour have been associated with increased cord plasma insulin concentrations. This may be the result of both transplacental passage of the drug and the presence of hyperglycaemia in the mother (Thomas et al, 1977). Epstein et al (1979) noted transient hypoglycaemia in the baby, but Jouppila et al (1980) noted an increase in the baby's blood glucose concentration when fenoterol was administered briefly to suppress uterine contractions before caesarian section.
2.4.5 Persistent hyperinsulinism, endocrine disorders and inborn errors of metabolism. Neonatal hypoglycaemia which persists or recurs after the first few days of life should raise the diagnostic possibility of an endocrine disorder or inborn error of metabolism (Table 3).
Among the more common endocrine disorders are adrenocortical insufficiency, hypopituitarism, and the "B-cell dysregulation syndrome" (nesidioblastosis). The first two may be associated with abnormalities of the external genitalia. Septo-optic dysplasia may also be associated with hypopituitarism. Infants with organic hyperinsulinism have a habitus resembling the IDM in the absence of features of gestational diabetes mellitus in the mother. Infants with congenital or acquired glucagon deficiency also show severe and protracted hypoglycaemia (Vidnes & Oysaeter 1977, Kollee et al 1978, Gotlin & Silver 1970), illustrating well the importance of this hormone in perinatal adaptation.
Inborn errors of metabolism which may present as hypoglycaemia in the neonatal period include glycogen storage diseases, defects of b-oxidation (dicarboxylic aciduria), defects of gluconeogenesis (e.g fructose-1,6-diphosphatase deficiency), and some defects of amino acid metabolism.
The diagnosis and treatment of these conditions is beyond the scope of this work, and the reader is, therefore, referred to recent review articles (Saudubray et al, 1990; Aynsley-Green, 1991; Fernandes & Berger, 1993; Cornblath & Schwartz, 1993).
Disorders of carbohydrate metabolism
Disorders of amino acid metabolism
Disorders of fatty acid metabolism
It is now clear that neuronal death attributable to hypoglycaemia is not simply the result of metabolic attrition but an active excitotoxic process. Electron microscopy reveals the axon-sparing, dendritic lesion characteristic of this process. Understanding the nature of the cellular injury has potential importance in the prevention of hypoglycaemic brain damage for pre-treatment with n-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) antagonist drugs (notably dizocilpine maleate) has been found protective in both cell culture and animal models (reviewed by Papagapiou & Auer, 1990; Auer & Siesjo, 1993).
The newborn's capacity to promote ketogenesis in the face of "suckling hypoglycaemia" has been described previously (Section 2.3). Newborn term infants rapidly increase ketone body flux to rates observed in adults, but only after several days of fasting, flux (i.e. rate of ketone body turnover) being correlated with plasma ketone body concentration (Bougneres et al, 1986). Furthermore, free fatty acid, glycerol (Persson & Gentz, 1966) and ketone body concentrations (Hawdon et al, 1992) are inversely related to blood glucose concentration. Extensive evidence from animal species (Dombrowski et al, 1989; Nehlig et al, 1993), including primates (Levitsky et al, 1977), demonstrates that ketone bodies are important cerebral energy substrates. Owen et al (1967) first demonstrated that the human brain consumes ketones. They catheterised the cerebral vessels of three adults and found that ketone bodies became the predominant cerebral fuel with prolonged (5-6 weeks) starvation. Similar catheterisation studies in infants (mean age 5 months) undergoing elective surgery demonstrated higher rates of ketone body uptake than those measured in adults (Settergren et al, 1976). Enzyme systems necessary for the metabolism of ketones are present in human fetal brain (Patel et al, 1975) and uptake of ketone bodies has been demonstrated in perfused brain obtained from fetuses aborted at 12-21 weeks of gestation (Adam et al, 1975). Kraus et al (1974) studied the cerebral arteriovenous difference (DAV) in ketone body concentration among 11 preterm and 2 term newborns fasted for 6 hours. DAV and ketone body concentration were positively correlated with cerebral uptake of ketone bodies, accounting for around 10% of overall brain energy balance. In these studies there was net cerebral production of lactate and pyruvate, suggesting that ketone bodies are more important than lactate as an alternative cerebral fuel to glucose.
Cerebral blood flow. In fully-grown animals local cerebral blood flow (LCBF) is well matched to the local cerebral metabolic rate for glucose (CMRgluc). In newborn dogs total cerebral blood flow was conserved even at blood glucose concentrations <0.5 mmol l-1 (Hernandez et al, 1980). However, the developmental time course of the mechanisms responsible may vary from species to species (reviewed by Nehlig, 1993) and extrapolation to human neonates must be cautious. Pryds et al (1988, 1990) identified increased plasma adrenaline concentrations and cerebral blood flow (measured using 133Xe) in preterm infants whose blood glucose fell below 1.7 mmol l-1. In further studies a fall in cerebral blood volume (measured using near infra-red spectroscopy) accompanied restoration of normal blood glucose concentration in hypoglycaemic preterm infants (Skov & Pryds, 1992). The authors speculated that the speed of change reflects the existence of a cerebral blood glucose "sensor" which maintains cerebral glucose supply by recruitment of underperfused capillaries.
Preterm or SGA
|Table shows modal value (range in parentheses) for blood glucose concentration (mmol l-1) defined as neonatal hypoglycaemia by paediatric textbooks or practising paediatricians (Koh et al, 1988).|
First, the result is dependent upon the source of the blood sample, the assay method, and whether blood or plasma glucose concentration is determined. These aspects are discussed further in Chapter 5. Second, early feeding schedules have a prominent effect on blood glucose concentrations but have changed a great deal since early studies (Cornblath & Reisner, 1965; Chance & Bower, 1966; Lubchenco & Bard, 1971; Fluge, 1974). Even now they vary greatly from hospital to hospital and few breastfed infants have been studied (Hawdon et al, 1992; Anderson et al, 1993). Third, there is a problem in defining what is meant by a "normal healthy term baby" in this context; in one study (Sexson, 1984) 72% of inborn babies had one or more of the "risk factors" for hypoglycaemia set out by Cornblath & Schwartz (1976). Fourth, there is an ethical dilemma over longitudinal blood sampling of healthy babies simply to define a "normal" biochemical range. Thus the only available data for breastfed babies are cross-sectional (Hawdon et al, 1992).
Cornblath & Reisner (1965) first published data on blood glucose concentrations in normal newborns. They found that 95% of values among term infants were >30 mg dl-1 and 98.4% of values in "premature" infants >20 mg dl-1. They defined hypoglycaemia in "full-size" term infants as a blood glucose value below 30 mg dl-1 in the first 48 hours and below 40-50 mg dl-1 after 48 hours of age. SGA babies were not considered as a specific group. Hypoglycaemia among low birth weight babies was defined as <20 mg dl-1. These values dominated opinion over the management of neonatal hypoglycaemia for many years. Furthermore, the acceptance of a lower threshold concentration for smaller babies has only been challenged relatively recently.
Early feeding was commonly discouraged in the era of this study (Cornblath & Reisner, 1965). Srinivasan et al (1986) have more recently published plasma glucose concentrations of 344 healthy full-term, appropriate weight for gestational age (AGA) infants. Mean and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were calculated from a mixture of serial and cross-sectional data. The lower estimate of 95% CI for cord samples was 3.3 mmol l-1, falling to 1.4 mmol l-1 (26 mg dl-1) at one hour of age. After two hours it exceeded 2.3 mmol l-1 (42 mg dl-1). The applicability of even these data to the normal, breastfed, newborn baby is questionable for the early care of the infants studied is described as follows:
Data published by Hawdon et al (1992) have been discussed in a previous section (2.3). These authors measured cross-sectionally a number of metabolic substrates, not just glucose, among healthy, term, demand-breastfed and bottle-fed infants. The paper provides limited information about the management of breastfeeding in the infants studied, stating only that the infants were "demand-fed". No supplements of water or formula were given (JM Hawdon, personal communication). Wide variation in both blood glucose concentrations and those of other substrates prompted the authors to highlight a final problem in defining hypoglycaemia for the purpose of clinical management:
Metabolic studies nevertheless make one essential point about the definition of hypoglycaemia. Counterregulatory responses differ significantly between term and preterm infants (Hawdon et al, 1992), suggesting that the threshold for a "safe" blood glucose concentration in the preterm infant is higher than that for a term infant and not lower as implied by earlier data (Cornblath & Reisner, 1965).
Koh et al (1988) studied latency of the auditory evoked response waveform (AEP's) among 17 children, some of whom were spontaneously hypoglycaemic whilst others were undergoing insulin-induced hypoglycaemia stress testing. Abnormalities were identified in some when blood glucose concentration fell below 2.6 mmol l-1 but generalisation to the healthy newborn is very difficult for two reasons. First, only five of the subjects were newborn babies. Second, the infants were relatively hypoketonaemic and consequently deprived of alternative cerebral fuels (Section 3.3) unlike the healthy breastfed infant. It is also important to note that the electrophysiological abnormalities identified were not permanent.
Others have failed to observe an effect of hypoglycaemia on AEP's in the newborn (Greisen & Pryds, 1989). Furthermore, Pryds et al (1988) were unable to identify abnormalities of either the amplitude-integrated EEG signal or of single flash visual evoked potentials (VEP's) among nine hypoglycaemic preterm infants (mean gestational age 30.8 weeks, range 26-34 weeks). Blood glucose concentrations at the time of study ranged from <0.5 mmol l-1 (five infants) to 1.5 mmol l-1.
In summary, current published evidence correlating neurophysiological disturbance with blood glucose concentration is equivocal and based on too few observations to set a "safe" threshold for either term or preterm infants.
This study is notable for its large sample size and unparalleled statistical power. Nevertheless, it has a number of limitations as a guide to "safe" plasma glucose concentrations. First, it applies only to preterm infants and there is increasing evidence that the immature counterregulatory response of this group might make them more vulnerable to effects of hypoglycaemia (Section 2.4.1). Second, it is important to reiterate (Section 1.3) that evidence of an association between hypoglycaemia and neurodevelopmental outcome in studies of this type may not reflect causation. Hypoglycaemia may merely have acted as a proxy for other unidentified risk factors not entered into the multiple regression model. It cannot be assumed that maintenance of a plasma glucose concentration >2.5 mmol l-1 would have prevented neurodevelopmental sequelae.
In the case of symptomatic term babies and preterm babies there is more room for caution. Limited data suggest both that ketogenesis is constrained in preterm infants (Section 2.4; Section 4.2) and that presence of a plasma glucose concentration <2.6 mmol l-1 in this group is associated with adverse neurodevelopmental outcome (Section 4.4). The neurodevelopmental outcome of symptomatic term babies with hypoglycaemia is also worse than in those who are asymptomatic. Whilst these associations are not evidence of a causative link, it seems wise to adopt a cautious approach in the presence of symptoms and rapidly institute treatment to increase the blood glucose concentration regardless of a measured value, as no definite threshold can be set.
5.1.2 Glucose oxidase method. Glucose oxidase catalyses the oxidation of glucose to yield glucuronic acid and hydrogen peroxide. The concentration of hydrogen peroxide liberated is measured using a peroxidase step coupled to a coloured oxygen acceptor or an electrode (Bergmeyer, 1974). These reactions form the basis of both reagent strip and benchtop glucose electrode methods. The limitations of these systems are described in more detail below (Sections 5.1.6, 5.1.7).
5.1.3 Hexokinase method. Hexokinase catalyses the phosphorylation of glucose by ATP. Glucose-6-phosphate is then reduced by glucose dehydrogenase yielding NADPH/H+ which can be measured using a suitable spectrophotometric indicator system. This method is precise and highly specific for glucose (Bergmeyer, 1974).
5.1.4 Precision and sources of error in the determination of blood & plasma glucose concentrations. Requirements for the ideal method for measurement of glucose concentrations in clinical practice are: accuracy, precision, and rapid processing of small samples without the need for preparatory steps. The method must also be sufficiently simple for medical and nursing personnel to undertake it without extensive training in laboratory skills. Methods developed and used most extensively in the last two decades for cotside monitoring of blood and plasma glucose concentrations include paper reagent strips and glucose electrodes. Both depend on the glucose oxidase reaction (Section 5.1.2). Another more recently developed method (the HemoCue photometer, Section 5.1.8) employs glucose dehydrogenase to reduce NAD but measures indicator colour change by transmission spectrophotometry rather than the reflectance technology employed with paper strip methods.
5.1.5 Properties of the sample and sources of error. Arterial blood has a slightly higher glucose concentration than venous. The magnitude of this difference varies with tissue glucose demands and will be greatest under anaerobic conditions. Capillary sampling is unreliable if peripheral blood flow is reduced. Samples must be always be free-flowing as squeezing the heel causes haemolysis which interferes with the assay unless deproteinisation is performed (see below). Contamination by alcohol used for skin preparation leads to erroneously high values (Grazaitis & Sexson 1980; Togari et al, 1987). The sample should either be analysed immediately or deproteinised (for example using perchloric acid) and chilled. Glycolysis otherwise continues. Commercially available sodium fluoride coated tubes do not always ensure a fluoride concentration sufficient to inhibit glycolysis (Joosten et al, 1991).
Bilirubin, uric acid, and haemolysis also interfere with glucose oxidase-peroxidase based strip methods. Bilirubin inhibits both steps of the assay leading to falsely low values (Fox & Redstone 1976). Haemolysis also produces falsely low values. This may be attributable to presence of haemoglobin or to release of reduced glutathione which competes with the chromogen for hydrogen peroxide released in the assay. Interference by haemolysates, uric acid, and bilirubin can be prevented by deproteinisation of the sample.
5.1.6 Paper strips. These were initially developed for monitoring blood glucose concentration in diabetes and not intended for detection of hypoglycaemia. Care must be taken to avoid contamination by alcohol skin-cleansers, to cover the whole surface of the test-pad, and to time the reaction precisely before wiping the strip. Even when these precautions are adopted, all tend to under-estimate systematically the mean of a series of measurements in the range of glucose concentrations relevant to the diagnosis of neonatal hypoglycaemia (<2.6 mmol l-1; approx < 50 mg dl-1) and are imprecise, typically giving values only to within 0.5 mmol l-1 even when coupled with a reflectance metering system (e.g Reflolux).
Several commercially available systems are available and have been evaluated for neonatal use including Dextrostix (Ames Co.) (Chantler et al, 1967; Wilkins & Kalra, 1982), BM-test-glycemie 1-44 (Wilkins & Kalra, 1982; Reynolds & Davies, 1993; Anderson et al, 1993), and Chemstrip bG (Boehringer Mannheim) (Holtrop et al, 1990; Kaplan et al, 1989). Most studies have compared methods using linear correlation analysis (e.g Kaplan et al, 1989; Wilkins & Kalra, 1982; Perelman et al, 1982; Hererra & Hsiang, 1983; Hay & Osberg, 1983; Lin et al, 1989; Hameed et al, 1995) but a more informative means of comparing two methods of measurement is to plot the difference between results obtained by each method against the average of the two (Bland & Altman, 1986). This describes more clearly inaccuracy (systematic difference between methods) and imprecision (random variation of results about the mean).
Four studies have examined the problem in this way. One (Aynsley-Green, 1991) compared blood glucose measurements made using the BM glycemie 1-44 strip and Reflolux reflectance meter with autoanalyser measurements across the range of blood glucose concentrations 0.8-2.8 mmol l-1. The 95% confidence limits (precision) across this range approximated 0.5 mmol l-1, and there was a small systematic difference of 0.05 mmol l-1 at all concentrations. Anderson et al (1993) compared BM strip with the Yellow Springs Instruments glucose electrode system. BM glycemie test gave results on average 0.37 mmol l-1 lower than those obtained with the glucose electrode in the range of concentrations 1-5 mmol l-1. Confidence limits were not given.
A third study (Reynolds & Davies, 1993) examined the effectiveness of paper strip systems in screening for neonatal hypoglycaemia (see 5.2 below), defined as a blood glucose concentration of <2.0 mmol l-1 detected at the cotside with the BM glycemie 1-44 test (Table 5). The Kodak Ektachem system was used as a comparative laboratory reference. Mean BM glycemie test values understimated mean Kodak Ektachem values by as much as 1.5 mmol l-1 at a BM glucose concentration of 1 mmol l-1 but were comparable at 3.5 mmol l-1. At all concentrations there was a wide scatter of results, such that the laboratory blood glucose at a BM value of 2.0 mmol l-1 could have been between 1.4 and 4.3 mmol l-1 on 95% of occasions. Hameed et al (1995) similarly compared venous and capillary sample BM-test reflectance estimates with laboratory values obtained by the hexokinase technique and observed a tendency for the mean BM-test value to underestimate with a wide scatter of individual values (95% CI approximately ± 1.6 mmol l-1).
In summary, reagent strip methods are prone to many errors when used to screen for neonatal hypoglycaemia. The mean of a series of measurements may be underestimated by as much as 0.5-1.0 mmol l-1. Consequently, treatment should not be initiated on the basis of results obtained with these tests alone.
5.1.7 Glucose electrode systems. One study (Conrad et al, 1989) examined the reliability of a glucose electrode based analyser (YSI) (Yellow Springs Instruments, Model 23A) used by nurses in a clinical setting. The device measures plasma glucose concentration on a whole blood uncentrifuged 25ml sample. An in vitro study found good linear agreement (r = 0.99) over the range 0-100 mg dl-1 (0 - 5.6 mmol l-1) between YSI results and those obtained using a laboratory glucose oxidase method. The regression equation was:
Standard error of the estimate (n=49) was 3.0 mg dl-1 (0.17 mmol l-1), significantly better than agreement obtained between YSI and reagent strip methods (Glucometer II, Chemstrip bG, Dextrostix, Glucostix) for which standard error of the estimate ranged between 15-20 mg dl-1. Interference from bilirubin is negligible at concentrations encountered in practice, and sample haematocrit does not affect the assay. Fully automated systems are available but expensive (approx $15,000) compared to reflectance meters. Once purchased, the running costs of the YSI equate closely to the cost of disposable reagent strips.
5.1.8 Other bedside systems. The HemoCue b-glucose photometer (Hemo-Cue AB, Angelholm, Sweden) is an optical method measuring whole blood glucose on small (5ml) samples utilising disposable cuvettes. Blood is haemolysed in the cuvette and NADH formed by enzymatic glucose oxidation reduces methylthiazolyldiphenyl tetrazolium to produce a formazan dye, the concentration of which is determined spectrophotometrically. Only one study has evaluated application to neonatal samples (Vadsadi & Jacobs, 1993). Furthermore, its reliability for detection of hypoglycaemia cannot be established because too few observations were in the range of importance (<3 mmol l-1) and results were expressed only in terms of statistical correlation rather than limits of agreement (see comments in Section 5.1.7). Moreover, the cost per test is high when compared with reagent strip or electrode systems. Cuvette storage temperature and room temperature variation can introduce errors, though these are more significant at high than at low glucose concentrations. A recent study (Ellis et al, 1996) conducted in Nepal found that HaemoCue tended to overestimate blood glucose concentrations of neonatal samples and was unsuitable for the detection of hypoglycaemia (<2 mmol l-1).
|Positive predictive value||
|Negative predictive value
|Hypoglycaemia defined as <2.0 mmol l-1 using BM glycemie /Reflolux system (Reynolds & Davies, 1993) or as <1.9 mmol l-1 using Chemstrip BG with visual matching (Holtrop et al, 1990).|
Specificity = true negatives / [true negatives + false positives]
Positive predictive value = true positives / [true positives + false positives]
Negative predictive value = true negatives / [true negatives + false negatives]
In summary, these studies show that reagent strip screening detects only about 85% of true cases of hypoglycaemia and 75% of babies truly normoglycaemic. Thus, reagent strip tests are unsuitable for diagnosing neonatal hypoglycaemia and should not be used. Less frequent but more accurate laboratory or ward-based glucose electrode measurements among babies at risk are preferable (Section 6).
Sexson (1984) examined the effect of the diagnostic threshold for hypoglycaemia on incidence of the condition among 232 newborn babies born to low-risk mothers in the USA. No information about feeding regimens was given. 72% (168) had one or more risk factors for hypoglycaemia as defined by Cornblath & Schwartz (1976). Dextrostix were used to screen for hypoglycaemia, a practice likely to overestimate the true incidence (Section 5.1.6; Section 5.2), though low values were confirmed by laboratory analysis. Hypoglycaemia was defined as a blood glucose value of <2.2 mmol l-1 (<40 mg dl-1). None of the 64 infants without a risk factor was hypoglycaemic when tested at the age of 5 hours (before the first feed), but 28.6% of the 168 infants with a risk factor became hypoglycaemic within the first 12 hours of life. The mean blood glucose of the hypoglycaemic infants was 1.5 mmol l-1 (range 0-2.1 mmol l-1) and the mean age at diagnosis 3.4 hours (range 0.5-12 hours). The overall incidence of hypoglycaemia in the whole sample of 232 babies was 20.6% but it is difficult to set this in context as no data were given on birth weight or gestational age. Nevertheless, had the definition proposed by Cornblath et al (<1.7 mmol l-1) been used, only 8.1% would have been labelled hypoglycaemic.
Holtrop (1993) studied the incidence of hypoglycaemia in LGA and SGA American newborns, identified as having birth weight >90th or <10th centile respectively. The definition of hypoglycaemia chosen was that suggested by Srinivasan et al (1986): a serum glucose concentration of <35 mg dl-1 at <3 hours of age, <40 mg dl-1 at 3-24 hours of age and <45 mg dl-1 at >24 hours of age. Hypoglycaemia was detected in 8.1% (24/298) of LGA infants and 14.7% (30/204) of SGA infants. In all but 3 SGA infants it occurred in the first 10 hours of life. Although data on mean birth weight and gestation were given, no information about feeding regimens was presented.
A British study of 164 SGA babies detected hypoglycaemia (defined as Dextrostix value <1.4 mmol l-1) in only 3/104 with birth weight >2.3 centile and 6/60 with birth weight <2.3 centile. Only one of the 9 infants was symptomatic, being described as "jittery". Hawdon et al (1992), reviewing the literature, quote incidences of "hypoglycaemia" in term infants ranging between 0 and 8% and between 3 and 15% in preterm infants.
Information on the incidence of neonatal hypoglycaemia in developing countries is very limited. Anderson et al (1993) conducted a cross-sectional study of 226 full-term, uncomplicated newborns in a hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal. Hypoglycaemia, defined as a blood glucose value of <2.6 mmol l-1 during the first 50 hours of life (Koh et al, 1988), was present in 38%. Seven per cent had a blood glucose concentration <2.0 mmol l-1. Low birth weight and hypothermia were associated with hypoglycaemia which was present in 55% of those weighing <2500 g, and 32 % of those >2500 g. Similarly, 57% of those with a rectal temperature of <35.5OC at the time of sampling were hypoglycaemic compared to 32% of those who were not. More than half the babies studied received prelacteal feeds (sugar water) and many mothers delayed initiation of breastfeeding for over 24 hours, discarding colostrum. The authors speculated reasonably that these were important aetiological factors but did not seek systematically to correlate these practices with hypoglycaemia in their study.
Term infants. Screening for hypoglycaemia in healthy term infants is flawed for two principal reasons. First, no diagnostic blood glucose concentration can be set (Section 4). Second, no reliable cotside methodology is available: reagent strip methods greatly overestimate the true frequency of hypoglycaemia in this population (Section 5.2) and are likely to lead to unnecessary investigation and treatment.
Preterm infants. Limited available data give cause for concern that infants <37 weeks gestation have an immature counterregulatory response to hypoglycaemia (Section 2.3, Section 2.4). It seems desirable in this group to maintain plasma glucose concentration >2.6 mmol l-1 (Lucas et al, 1988). In achieving this aim, prevention (Section 6) by early enteral feeding (or provision of intravenous glucose for those unable to feed) is more important than frequent blood glucose testing. Daily or twice daily laboratory measurements are preferable to frequent but inaccurate reagent strip measurements. They should be sufficient in most cases to tailor feeding regimens to the individual infant's requirement.
Small for gestational age (SGA) infants. Care should be taken in the diagnosis of SGA (see Section 6.2.3). This group is very heterogeneous and not all are at risk of hypoglycaemia. Those <3rd percentile (birth weight <2 SD from the mean for gestation) (Jones & Roberton, 1986; Cornblath & Schwartz, 1993), and those who are disproportionate (increased head circumference: body weight ratio) or with abnormal umbilical artery Doppler flow velocity profiles in fetal life (Hawdon et al, 1992), are probably most vulnerable. Polycythaemia is an additional risk factor which is easily excluded (Section 6.1). Excessively frequent blood sampling is not necessary to identify those at risk. Reliable laboratory measurements of cord blood glucose and blood glucose at 4-6 hours of age (before the second feed) are preferable (Hawdon & Ward Platt, 1993).
Large for gestational age (LGA) term infants. Rare infants with organic hyperinsulinism are typically large at birth, and this association has led to screening of infants whose birth weight exceeds the 90th percentile for gestational age. Occasionally LGA is associated with hitherto undetected maternal gestational diabetes. But the majority of LGA infants are simply large, normal healthy infants (see Section 2.4.4). As in AGA infants (Hawdon et al, 1992), blood glucose concentrations may fall below 2 mmol l-1 in this group, usually within the first 8 hours of life (Holtrop, 1993). There is no evidence that transient hypoglycaemia in this group is detrimental to outcome. Consequently, reagent-strip screening, supplementary feeding and treatment of transient, mild hypoglycaemia in the absence of symptoms are inappropriate.
Infants of diabetic mothers. Most of these infants display transient hyperinsulinism and are consequently at risk of hypoketonaemic hypoglycaemia. Screening should be undertaken for at least the first 24 hours of life and the blood glucose concentration maintained at >2.6 mmol l-1. Testing may be discontinued once satisfactory blood glucose concentrations are maintained without supplementary feeds or intravenous therapy.
6.1 Peripartum factors
6.1.2 Early postpartum management. The baby should be dried immediately to reduce evaporative heat loss which increases energy demands. Skin-to-skin contact between the mother and her baby as soon as possible after delivery are important in the maintenance of core temperature (van den Bosch & Bullough, 1990). Early enteral feeding should have the highest priority in healthy infants, whether term or preterm (Smallpeice & Davies, 1964; Wharton & Bower, 1965).
6.1.3 Neonatal risk factors. Section 2.4 discussed factors which increase the risk of neonatal hypoglycaemia. Feeding regimens for categories of babies at risk are suggested below (Section 6.2). Polycythaemia (packed cell volume, or PCV, of >0.65) may be associated with hypoglycaemia in some babies, particularly those who are small for gestational age and infants of diabetic mothers. The management of neonatal polycythamia is controversial; some authorities (Glader & Naiman, 1991) recommend partial dilutional exchange with 5% albumin in infants who are "symptomatic" (including those who are hypoglycaemic) but there is no consistent evidence of short- or long-term benefit in those who are well (Doyle & Zipursky, 1992).
Term infants. There is no justification for giving healthy term infants 10% dextrose water or any other form of prelacteal feeds. Although the practice was once routine, particularly in North American nurseries, it is outdated. Dextrose water is of lower energy density than milk which contains fat. The practice of feeding dextrose water presumably arose through concern about aspiration of the first feed but there is no evidence that aspiration of colostrum is any more harmful than aspiration of dextrose or water.
In some parts of the world, notably the Indian sub-continent, prelacteal feeding and withholding of colostrum is common. In an Indian Council of Medical Research collaborative study of infant feeding, only 32% of mothers suckled their baby within the first 24 hours and only 13% in the first 8 hours. Seventy-one per cent of mothers offered an alternative to breastmilk, such as honey or sugar water (Anderson et al, 1993). Such practices seem very likely to increase the incidence of neonatal hypoglycaemia though no intervention studies appear to have documented this.
6.2.2 Preterm infants. It is over thirty years since two British studies documented that "early" feeding with expressed breastmilk reduced the incidence of hypoglycaemia (blood glucose <20 mg dl-1) in preterm infants (Smallpeice & Davies, 1964; Wharton & Bower, 1965). In the 1940's and 1950's preterm infants were starved for the first 24 hours of life in order to reduce the incidence of aspiration. Smallpeice & Davies (1964) showed that nasogastric tube feeding of small infants (birth weight 1-2 kg) using graded volumes of milk was safe and reduced the frequency of hypoglycaemia, jaundice and dehydration when compared with historical controls. The feeding schedule they adopted, commencing with 60 ml kg-1 d-1 and increasing daily in steps of 30 ml kg-1 d-1 to 150 ml kg-1 d-1 on the fourth day of life, is still widely recommended in standard neonatal texts though has never been systematically evaluated. Wharton & Bower (1965) found that this practice halved the incidence of asymptomatic hypoglycaemia (immediate-fed group 5/44; late-fed group 10/54) and abolished symptomatic hypoglycaemia (0/44 immediate-fed; 4/54 late-fed) though was associated with an increased risk of mortality, often associated with aspiration.
An alternative may be to provide 100 ml kg-1 d-1 on the first day, 75 ml kg-1 d-1 on the second and 50 ml kg-1 d-1 on the third as the volume of breastmilk obtained by suckling increases (JM Hawdon, M Ward Platt; personal communications, 1996). Concern about the relationship between high early feed volume and necrotising enterocolitis may be unjustified, being based on case-control data (Anderson & Kliegman, 1991; McKeown et al, 1992) and retrospectively controlled studies (Brown & Sweet, 1978; Goldman, 1980). It was not supported by a single, small randomised controlled trial (Book et al, 1976). Studies examining feed volume moreover have not adequately controlled for the protective effect of human milk (Lucas & Cole, 1990; Beeby & Jeffery, 1992).
Preterm infants with features of respiratory distress (tachypnoea, grunting, recession) should not be enterally fed but should be treated with intravenous glucose (see Section 6.4) until respiratory rate begins to fall. Feeding tubes should always be passed via the mouth in infants recovering from respiratory distress as nasogastric tubes increase airway impedance and may precipitate apnoea (Stocks, 1980). Alternatively infants may be cup-fed (Lang et al, 1994). Initially, small aliquots of feed should be offered hourly and intervals increased to 3-hourly as tolerated.
Healthy preterm infants 32-36 weeks of gestation. Sustained coordination of suckling and swallowing is present from about 32 weeks of gestation (Rennie, 1992) and many such infants may be allowed an opportunity to suckle. The ability of small babies to feed at the breast is often underestimated. Pearce & Buchanan (1979) reported that 12 of 17 very low birth weight babies consecutively admitted to a neonatal unit started breastfeeding at a mean weight of 1.324 ± 0.099 kg (mean, SD) and a mean age of 11 days. Ten were fully breastfed at a mean age of 27 days when they weighed 1.600 ± 0.139 kg.
The breast should be offered as soon as possible after birth and at 3-hourly intervals thereafter. There is little point in persisting if the infant is sleepy, undemanding and unwilling to attach or suckle. Total requirements may not be obtained directly and supplementary feeds should be given after breastfeeds during the early days of life. The volume of supplement should be reduced as suckling improves and birth weight is regained (see guidelines in 6.2.2 above). Feeds should be offered by cup or gavage in preference to a bottle. Expressed breastmilk is the food of choice but formula is preferable to dextrose water if it is not available.
Healthy preterm infants under 32 weeks of gestation. The majority of these will not suckle effectively and require gavage feeding though cup-feeding is possible from 30 weeks of gestation (Lang et al, 1994). If required, a gastric tube should be passed orally and not nasally (Stocks, 1980). On the first day a volume of 60 ml kg-1 d-1 divided into hourly aliquots should be given. If facilities for intravenous therapy are available, a 10% glucose infusion should be initiated as soon as possible after birth Section 6.4. Absolute contraindications to feeding include bile-stained gastric aspirate and abdominal distension, most commonly attributable to ileus. Feeds should be stopped and intravenous 10% glucose infusion commenced (or parenteral nutrition when available). Enteral feeding may be recommenced when signs resolve, assuming that necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) has been excluded. NEC and other conditions associated with ileus (e.g. sepsis, respiratory disease) should be treated according to standard texts.
Most infants <28 weeks of gestation show immature patterns of bowel motility though early feeding has been shown to hasten adaptation to the pattern seen in more mature babies (Bissett et al, 1989). A randomised controlled study of babies <1850 g birth weight found human milk feeds more rapidly tolerated than formula feeds (Lucas, 1987).
Management of the mother. If the baby is unable to suckle, mothers should express their breastmilk as soon as possible after delivery and continue at least 3-hourly even at night. All milk expressed should be given to the baby. If the baby is capable of suckling but appears unable to obtain his/her total requirements the mother should express after each feed. Skin-to-skin contact ("kangaroo care") has been shown in a randomised controlled study to increase the duration of lactation among mothers of very small preterm infants (Whitelaw et al, 1988).
6.2.3 Small for gestational age (SGA) infants
Identifying SGA babies. Usually SGA babies are defined as those whose birth weight is below the 10th centile for gestational age. This crude classification ignores the strong effect of maternal height and weight on birth weight. There is a difference of approximately 500 g between the mean birth weights at term of babies born to mothers of 4 feet 10 inches or 5 feet 10 inches. If the extremes of mid-pregnancy weight are also taken into account, the difference approaches 1 kg (Altman & Coles, 1980). A study of British babies (Gardosi et al, 1992) estimated that 28% of infants conventionally classified as SGA were of appropriate weight when maternal race, height, weight, and parity were taken into account. Similarly, 24% of babies conventionally classified as appropriate weight for gestational age (AGA) were truly SGA. Ideally, birth weight should be adjusted at least for the effect of maternal height, parity and mid-pregnancy weight (Altman & Coles, 1980) before babies are labelled SGA.
As the endogenous glucose production rate and glucose requirements correlate more closely with brain weight than body weight, the SGA babies at greatest risk of hypoglycaemia are probably those of disproportionate appearance with high OFC/MAC (head circumference: mid-arm circumference) or OFC/body weight ratio. Unfortunately there are insufficient data at present to establish a sufficiently precise threshold identifying an at-risk population. Moreover the calculation of such an index from two independent parameters doubles the potential for measurement error.
Management of SGA infants. Reasons for the increased incidence of hypoglycaemia among SGA infants were discussed in Section 2.4: counterregulatory response and ketogenesis are blunted by comparison with AGA infants but appear to mature on feeding. Consequently, early feeding is believed to be as important in this group as in preterm infants of normal weight. Glucose production rates in SGA infants are higher than in AGA infants (Section 2.2.4). We therefore commence enteral feeding in healthy SGA infants at 90 ml kg-1 d-1 as 3-hourly feeds on the first day and increase in 30 ml kg-1 steps daily.
In a Cambridge study (Whitby et al, 1982) of 269 infants weighing 1.8-2.5 kg who were provided with 60 ml kg-1 d-1 of milk on the first day (increasing by aliquots of 30 ml kg-1 d-1) only 5 developed hypoglycaemia. All were asymptomatic. 55% of the infants were "..making some attempt to breast-feed at discharge." A further Cambridge study of 164 infants below the 5th centile birth weight at 37 weeks fed according to this regimen observed only 9 cases of hypoglycaemia (footnote4), most of which were in infants <2 standard deviations below mean birth weight for gestation. Eight of the 9 were asymptomatic and one was described as "jittery".
There are no properly controlled studies of the incidence of hypoglycaemia among small (SGA and preterm) babies exclusively breastfed on demand or breastfed with supplements. These are urgently needed to uncover the incidence and outcome of hypoglycaemia, the incidence of adverse effects associated with formula supplementation, and the size of any negative effect on breastfeeding. Another area worthy of study might be the role of simple anthropometry (e.g. head circumference: arm circumference or length ratios) in identifying more precisely those small for gestational age infants at risk.
6.2.4 Infant of the diabetic mother. These infants display transient hyperinsulinism. The risk is greatest among those who are macrosomic (Section 2.4). Hypoglycaemia is not likely to occur after the first 24 hours of life. Affected infants should be breastfed as soon as possible after birth and thereafter on demand. If a pre-feed blood glucose estimation at 3 hours of age is normal it is unlikely that supplements will be required. But if the plasma glucose is <2.6 mmol l-1 at this age, supplementary feeds (90 ml kg-1 d-1) should be instituted for the first 24-48 hours of life, bearing in mind that the ability of these infants to withstand hypoglycaemia can be compromised by hypoketonaemia. It is reassuring to note that most studies have found neurodevelopmental outcome among infants of diabetic mothers similar to that of controls, provided that hypoglycaemia was appropriately treated.
6.2.5 Large for gestational age (LGA) infants. LGA is usually defined as birth weight >90th centile for gestational age. Infants with persistent hyperinsulinism (e.g. attributable to B-cell dysregulation syndrome) are typically LGA, as are those born to mothers with unrecognised gestational diabetes. Metabolic adaptation has not been studied so intensively in LGA infants as a group as it has been, for example, in SGA or preterm infants. The incidence of hypoglycaemia in an American study (Holtrop, 1993) of LGA infants was 8.1% but no details of feeding regimens were given. In the same study 14.7% of SGA infants were hypoglycaemic using the same criteria. Hypoglycaemia in LGA infants was early (mean age 2.9 hours) and no cases occurred in infants over 8 hours old. Persistent organic hyperinsulinism in otherwise healthy infants is very rare and it is doubtful that screening and supplementary feeding of breastfed LGA infants is justified.
Unfortunately this study does not address the question as to whether the higher blood glucose concentration in the supplemented group was beneficial to outcome. Moreover, the incidence of hypoglycaemia in both groups is likely to be spuriously high as Dextrostix were used to detect cases (Section 5.1.6; Section 5.2). There is an additional question about the safety of increasing feed osmolality by adding sugar. In this study the supplemented feed contained 363 mosm l-1 as opposed to 290 mosm l-1 in the standard feed. Abdominal distension was not noted but...
Fat supplementation of enteral feeds may have a role in prevention of hypoglycaemia (Sann et al, 1988). There is evidence that oral administration of lipid (as medium chain triglyceride) increases blood glucose concentration in unfed preterm and SGA babies (Sann et al, 1981, 1982). Excessive use of fat supplements may nevertheless precipitate diarrhoea and there is the additional possibility of precipitating severe illness in those rare infants who have defective b-oxidation pathways.
|Full-term infant, appropriate
weight for gestational age
Preterm infant, appropriate weight for gestational age
Small for gestational age infant
|3-5 mg kg-1 min-1
4-6 mg kg-1 min-1
6-8 mg kg-1 min-1
The use of bolus or "minibolus" glucose injections in the treatment of documented hypoglycaemia is controversial (see Section 7.2) but there is agreement that they are unnecessary when initiating glucose infusion to prevent hypoglycaemia in babies who cannot be enterally fed. It is undesirable to curtail abruptly intravenous infusions of glucose. The concentration of glucose infused into a peripheral vein should not exceed 10%. If glucose requirements exceed the above, insertion of a central intravenous line may be necessary, though intravenous glucagon injection (200 mg kg-1) may be an alternative (Section 7.3.1; Mehta, 1994).
7.1.1 Oral dextrose water or milk? Some authorities recommend oral feeding of 10% dextrose water 10 ml kg-1 (Cornblath & Schwartz, 1993). Others (Aynsley-Green, 1991; Hawdon & Ward Platt, 1993) point out that milk (10 ml kg-1) is more energy dense (100 ml breastmilk contains 70 kcal; 100 ml 10% dextrose contains 40 kcal) and that the fat component is theoretically beneficial; fat will both promote ketogenesis and reduce uptake of glucose into cells (Section 2.2.3; Section 2.3). Whether glucose or milk is given, a blood glucose measurement should be repeated preferably within the hour. Frequent feeds and pre-prandial blood glucose measurements (at least every 3 hours) should continue.
7.1.2 Lipid. Studies in hypoglycaemic infants and in preterm and SGA infants have shown that feeding lipid produces an increase in blood glucose, and non-esterified fatty acid concentrations (Sann et al, 1981, 1982) (Section 2.2.3; Section 2.3). Hawdon et al (1993) administered 5 ml kg-1 medium chain triglyceride (MCT) intragastrically and measured small but significant increases in blood glucose concentration, together with a highly variable change in the glucose production rate. Variability was attributed to differences in absorption (though this was not measured). Although the glycaemic effect of administering 200 mg kg-1 glucagon was greater than the effect of giving 5 ml kg-1 of MCT, ketogenesis was promoted more effectively with MCT and such a change might be of equal importance to glycaemic effect, given the probable importance of ketone bodies as a cerebral fuel (Section 3.2).
7.1.3 Concentrated Dextrose Gel. There have been anecdotal reports of the use of "Hypostop", a 40% dextrose gel in treatment of neonatal hypoglycaemia. In an uncontrolled study 0.5 ml kg-1 Hypostop was massaged into the buccal mucosa after drying it with a gauze swab. Sixty seven per cent of term infants are said to have responded with a rise in blood glucose concentration of 0.5 mmol l-1 (Bourchier et al, 1992). In the absence of controlled studies we cannot recommend this practice as effective and have concerns that it may defer implementation of more appropriate therapy aimed at correction of hypoglycaemia and treatment of the cause.
B. Hypoglycaemia is severe (<1.1 mmol l-1)
In the United States it is common practice to give a 2 ml kg-1 "minibolus" of 10% dextrose intravenously before starting a continuous infusion, repeating the bolus after 1 hour if blood glucose concentration is still low (JE McGowan, personal communication, 1995). In a study using historical controls Lilien et al (1980) showed that blood glucose concentration was restored more rapidly in this way than by continuous infusion of glucose (8 mg kg-1 min-1) alone. Only one infant became transiently hyperglycaemic. Hawdon et al (1994) recommended using a 3 ml kg-1 10% dextrose priming bolus for symptomatic infants, relying upon slower correction by continuous infusion alone (at least 5 mg kg-1 min-1) in infants who are hypoglycaemic but otherwise well (Ward Platt & Hawdon, 1993).
Glucose infusions should not be discontinued abruptly. The rate of infusion should be gradually reduced pari passu with increase in the volume of enteral feed (steps of 1 ml kg-1 h-1 have been recommended). Extravasation at drip sites needs urgent attention both to ensure continued glucose supply and to prevent tissue damage; glucose solutions are irritant and concentrations exceeding 10% should not be infused into peripheral veins. A central line may be needed if glucose requirements exceed 10.5 mg kg-1 min-1 (150 ml kg-1 d-1 of 10% dextrose). Glucagon administration (200 mg) may be an alternative if central line insertion is not possible.
The place of glucagon in treatment of neonatal hypoglycaemia is controversial (Mehta, 1994; Hawdon et al, 1994). Theoretically, a 200 mg kg-1 intravenous bolus effects enhancement of gluconeogenesis and ketogenesis (Section 2.2) which persists for many hours though an effect has been claimed for doses ranging between 3-300 mg kg-1. Side-effects of glucagon include vomiting, diarrhoea and hypokalaemia. At high doses it may stimulate insulin release. Controlled studies of the relative efficacy of glucagon and the more conventional alternative of glucose infusion at >6 mg kg-1 min-1 are needed. More information about dosage is also required.
7.3.2 Other drugs: Diazoxide, somatostatin and octreotide. These drugs play a specific part in the management of persistent hyperinsulinism and have no place in the management of transient hypoglycaemia associated with abnormal metabolic adaptation in preterm and SGA infants (see Ward Platt & Hawdon, 1993; Cornblath & Schwartz, 1993). Reference should be made to suitable texts.
The following questions have been identified as those to which an answer is most needed, to improve prevention and management of hypoglycaemia of the newborn.
8.1 Does neonatal hypoglycaemia compromise neurodevelopmental outcome?
Studies such as those of Hawdon et al (1992) have suggested that SGA and preterm infants are less able to mount a counterregulatory response than term infants. However, these studies were observational and could simply reflect the success of medical management in preventing hypoglycaemia rather than metabolic immaturity. Against such an explanation was the low ketone body concentration at blood glucose concentrations associated with a vigorous ketogenic response in healthy term infants. Early work nevertheless demonstrated ketonuria in fasted "premature" infants and there remains controversy as to whether mild hypoglycaemia (plasma glucose <2.6 mmol l-1) affects latency of visual/auditory evoked potentials in this group.
Intervention studies are needed to establish more precisely whether mild/moderate hypoglycaemia needs treatment in preterm infants. Using an intervention threshold of 2.6 mmol l-1 as suggested may be unnecessary, particularly in more mature preterm infants (32-36 weeks gestation) who are otherwise well.
There is also a need to identify better anthropometric predictors of hypoglycaemia in SGA infants than weight for gestational age (Section 6.2.3).
Both these areas are of crucial importance in the management of SGA infants in less developed countries.
Adam PAJ, Räihä N, Rahiala E-L, Kekomäki M (1975) Oxidation of glucose and D-b-OH-butyrate by the early human fetal brain. Acta paediatrica Scandinavica, 64: 17-24.
Altman DG, Coles ES (1980) Nomograms for precise determination of birth weight for dates. British journal of obstetrics and gynaecology , 87: 81-86.
Amiel SA (1994) Nutrition of the brain: macronutrient supply. Proceedings of the nutrition society, 53: 401-405.
Anday EK, Stanley CA, Baker L (1981) Delivoria-Papadopoulos M. Plasma ketones in newborn infants: absence of suckling ketosis. Journal of Pediatrics , 98: 628-630.
Anderson DM, Kliegman RM (1991) The relationship of neonatal alimentation practices to the occurrence of endemic necrotising enterocolitis. American journal of perinatology, 8: 62-67.
Anderson S, Shakya KN, Shrestha LN, de L Costello AM (1993) Hypoglycaemia: A common problem among uncomplicated newborn infants in Nepal. Journal of tropical pediatrics, 39: 273-277.
Auer RN, Siesjö B (1988) Biological differences between ischaemia, hypoglycaemia and epilepsy. Annals of neurology, 24: 699-707.
Auer RN, Siesjö B (1993) Hypoglycaemia: brain neurochemistry and neuropathology. Baillieres clinical endocrinology and metabolism, 7 (3): 611-625.
Aynsley-Green A (1991) Glucose: A fuel for thought! Journal of paediatrics and child health, 27: 21-30.
Beeby PJ, Jeffery H (1992) Risk factors for necrotising enterocolitis: the influence of gestational age. Archives of disease in childhood, 67: 432-435.
Beard AG, Panos TC, Marasigan BV, Eminians J, Kennedy HF, Lamb J (1966) Perinatal stress and the premature neonate. II. Effect of fluid and calorie deprivation on blood glucose. Journal of Pediatrics, 68: 329-343.
Bergmeyer HU (1974) Methods of enzymatic analysis, Volume 3, 2nd. English Edition. Deerfield Beach, Florida, Verlag Chemie International.
Bier DM, Leake RD, Haymond MW, Arnold KJ, Gruenke LD, Sperling MA, Kipnis DM (1977) Measurement of the "true" glucose production rate in infancy and childhood with 6,6-dideuteroglucose. Diabetes, 26: 1016-1023.
Bissett WM, Watt J, Rivers RPA, Milla PJ (1989) Postprandial motor response of the small intestine to enteral feeds in preterm infants. Archives of disease in childhood, 64: 1356-1361.
Bland JM, Altman DG (1986) Statistical methods for assessing agreement between two methods of clinical measurement. Lancet, i: 307-310.
Book LS, Herbst JJ, Jung AL (1976) Comparison of fast and slow feeding rate schedules to the development of necrotising enterocolitis. Journal of Pediatrics, 89: 463-466.
Bougnères PF, Zemmel C, Ferré P, Bier DM (1986) Ketone body transport in the human neonate and infant. Journal of clinical investigation , 77: 42-48.
Bourchier D, Weston P, Heron P (1992) Hypostop for neonatal hypoglycaemia. New Zealand medical journal, 105: 22.
Brown EG, Sweet AY (1978) Preventing necrotising enterocolitis in enonates. Journal of the American medical association (JAMA), 240: 2452-2454.
Carter PE, Lloyd DJ, Duffty P (1988) Glucagon for hypoglycaemia in infants small for gestational age. Archives of disease in childhood, 63: 1264-1266.
Chance GW, Bower BD (1966) Hypoglycaemia and temporary hyperglycaemia in infants of low birth weight for maturity. Archives of disease in childhood, 41: 279-285.
Chantler C, Baum JD, Norman DA (1967) Dextrostix in the diagnosis of neonatal hypoglycaemia. Lancet, ii: 1395-1396.
Collins JE, Leonard JV (1984) Hyperinsulinism in asphyxiated and small for dates infants with hypoglycaemia. Lancet, ii: 311-313.
Collins JE, Leonard JV, Teale D, Marks V, Williams DM, Kennedy CR, Hall MA (1990) Hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia in small for dates babies. Archives of disease in childhood, 65: 1118-1120.
Conrad PD, Sparks JW, Osberg I, Abrams L, Hay WW (1989) Clinical application of a new glucose analyser in the neonatal intensive care unit: Comparison with other methods. Journal of pediatrics, 114: 281-287.
Cornblath M, Odell GB, Levin EY (1959) Symptomatic neonatal hypoglycaemia associated with toxaemia of pregnancy. Journal of pediatrics, 55: 545-562.
Cornblath M, Schwartz P (1976) Disorders of carbohydrate metabolism in infancy, Philadelphia, WB Saunders.
Cornblath M, Reisner SH (1965) Blood glucose in the neonate and its clinical significance. New England journal of medicine, 273: 378-381.
Cornblath M, Schwartz R, Aynsley-Green A, Lloyd JK (1990) Hypoglycemia in infancy: The need for a rational definition. Pediatrics, 85: 834-837.
Cornblath M, Schwartz R (1993) Hypoglycemia in the neonate. Journal of pediatric Endocrinology, 6: 113-129.
Cowett RM, Oh W, Schwartz R (1983) Persistent glucose production during glucose infusion in the neonate. Journal of clinical investigation, 71: 467-476.
Denne SC, Kalhan SC (1986) Glucose carbon recycling and oxidation in human newborns. American journal of physiology, 251 (Endocrinol. Metab.): E71-E77.
Deshpande S, Bartlett K, Aynsley-Green A, Ward Platt MP (1994) Persistent immaturity of counter-regulatory ketogenesis in preterm infants. Abstract P12: British Paediatric Association Annual Meeting. Warwick, British Paediatric Association.
DiGiacomo JE, Hay WW (1992) Abnormal glucose homeostasis. In: Sinclair JC et al., eds. Effective Care of the Newborn Infant. Oxford, Oxford University Press: 590-601.
Dombrowski GJ, Swiatek KR, Chao KL (1989) Lactate, 3-hydroxybutyrate and glucose as substrates for the early postnatal rat brain. Neurochemical research, 14: 667-675.
Doyle JJ, Zipursky A (1992) Neonatal blood disorders. In: Sinclair JC et al., eds. Effective Care of the Newborn Infant. Oxford, Oxford University Press: 433-435.
Ellis M, Manandhar DS, Manandhar N, Land JM, Patel N, de L Costello AM (1996) Comparison of two cotside methods for the detection of hypoglycaemia among neonates in Nepal. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 75:F122-F125.
Epstein MF, Nicholls E, Stubblefield PG (1979) Neonatal hypoglycaemia after beta-sympathomimetic tocolytic therapy. Journal of pediatrics, 94: 499-453.
Farquhar JW (1954) Control of blood sugar level in the neonatal period. Archives of disease in childhood, 29: 519-529.
Farquhar JW (1956) The significance of hypoglycaemia in the newborn infant of the diabetic woman. Archives of disease in childhood, 31: 203-211.
Fernandes J, Berger R, Smit GPA (1984) Lactate as a cerebral metabolic fuel for glucose-6-phosphatase deficient children. Pediatric research, 18: 335-339.
Fernandes J, Berger R (1993) Hypoglycaemia: principles of diagnosis and treatment in children. Baillieres clinical endocrinology and metabolism, 7: 591-610.
Fluge G (1974) Clinical aspects of neonatal hypoglycaemia. Acta paediatrica Scandinavica, 63: 826.
Fox RE, Redstone D (1976) Sources of error in glucose determinations in neonatal blood by glucose oxidase methods, including dextrostix. American journal of clinical pathology, 66: 658-666.
Fraser R (1994) Diabetes in pregnancy. Archives of disease in childhood, 71: F224-230.
Gardosi J, Chang A, Kulya B et al. (1992) Customised antenatal growth charts. Lancet, 339: 283-287.
Gerich JE (1993) Control of glycaemia. Baillieres clinical endocrinology and metabolism, 7: 551-586.
Ginsburg BE, Lindblad BS, Persson B, Zetterstrom R (1985) Plasma valine and urinary C-peptide in infants. The effect of substituting breastfeeding with formula or formula with human milk. Acta paediatrica Scandinavica, 74: 615-616.
Glader BE, Naiman JL (1991) Erythrocyte disorders in infancy. In: Taeusch HW et al., eds. Schaffer & Avery's Diseases of the Newborn, 6th ed. Philadelphia, WB Saunders: 822-823.
Goldman HI (1980) Feeding and necrotising enterocolitis. American journal of diseases of children, 134: 553-555.
Gotlin RW, Silver HK (1970) Neonatal hypoglycaemia, hyperinsulinism and an absence of pancreatic alpha cells. Lancet, i: 1346.
Grazaitis DM, Sexson WR (1980) Erroneously high Dextrostix values caused by isopropyl alcohol. Pediatrics, 66: 221-222.
Greisen G, Pryds O (1989) Neonatal hypoglycaemia (Letter). Lancet, i: 332-333.
Griffiths AD, Bryant GM (1971) Assessment of effects of neonatal hypoglycaemia: A study of 41 cases with matched controls. Archives of disease in childhood, 46: 819-827.
Griffiths AD, Lawrence KM (1974) The effect of hypoxia and hypoglycaemia on the brain of the newborn infant. Developmental medicine and child neurology, 16: 308-319.
Gutberlet RL, Cornblath M (1975) Neonatal hypoglycemia revisited, 1975. Pediatrics, 58: 10-17.
Hales CN, Barker DJP (1992) Type 2 (non-insulin dependent) diabetes mellitus: the thrifty fetus hypothesis. Diabetologia, 35: 595-601.
Hall DMB, Michel JM (1995) Screening in infancy. Archives of disease in childhood, 72: 93-96.
Hameed M, Pollard R, Sharief N (1995) Bedside assessment of blood glucose in the neonatal period - an ongoing problem. Br J Int Care, 6: 114-117.
Hartmann AF, Jaudon JC (1937) Hypoglycaemia. Journal of pediatrics, 11: 1.
Hawdon JM, Aynsley-Green A, Alberti KGMM, Ward-Platt M (1992) The role of pancreatic insulin secretion in neonatal glucoregulation. I. Healthy term and preterm infants. Archives of disease in childhood, 68: 274-279.
Hawdon JM, Ward Platt MP, Aynsley Green A (1992) Patterns of metabolic adaptation for preterm and term infants in the first neonatal week. Archives of disease in childhood, 67: 357-365.
Hawdon JM, Ward Platt MP, McPhail S, Cameron H, Walkinshaw SA (1992) Prediction of impaired metabolic adaptation by antenatal Doppler studies in small-for-gestational age fetuses. Archives of disease in childhood, 67: 789-792.
Hawdon JM, Ward Platt MP (1993) Metabolic adaptation in small for gestational age infants. Archives of disease in childhood, 68: 262-268.
Hawdon JM, Aynsley-Green A, Ward Platt M (1993) Neonatal blood glucose concentrations: metabolic effects of intravenous glucagon and intragastric medium chain triglyceride. Archives of disease in childhood, 68: 255-261.
Hawdon JM, Weddell A, Aynsley-Green A, Ward-Platt M (1993) Hormonal and metabolic response to hypoglycaemia in small for gestational age infants. Archives of disease in childhood, 68: 269-273.
Hawdon JM, Ward Platt M, Aynsley Green A (1994) Prevention and management of neonatal hypoglycaemia. Archives of disease in childhood, 70: F60-F65.
Hawdon JM, Hubbard M, Hales CN, Clark P (1995) The use of a specific radioimmunometric assay to determine preterm neonatal insulin-glucose relationships. Archives of disease in childhood, 73: F166-F169.
Haworth JC, McRae KN (1965) The neurological and developmental effects of neonatal hypoglycaemia: A follow-up of 22 cases. Canadian medical association journal, 92: 861-865.
Haworth JC, Dilling L, Younoszai MK (1967) Relation of blood glucose to haematocrit, birth weight and other body measurements in normal and growth retarded newborn infants. Lancet, ii: 901-905.
Haworth JC, Vidyasagar D (1971) Hypoglycemia in the newborn. Clinical obstetrics and gynecology, 14: 821-839.
Hay WW (1991) The placenta: Not just a conduit for maternal fuels. Diabetes, 40 (Suppl. 2): 44-50.
Hay WW, Osberg IM (1983) The "Eyetone" blood glucose reflectance colorimeter evaluated for in vitro and in vivo accuracy and clinical efficacy. Clinical chemistry, 29: 558-560.
Haymond MW, Karl IE, Pagliara AS (1974) Increased gluconeogenic substrates in the small-for-gestational age infant. New England journal of medicine, 291: 322-328.
Heck LJ, Erenburg A (1987) Serum glucose levels in term neonates during the first 48 hours of life. Journal of pediatrics, 110: 119-122.
Hernandez MJ, Vannucci RC, Salcedo A, Brennan RW (1980) Cerebral blood flow and metabolism during hypoglycaemia in newborn dogs. Journal of neurochemistry, 35: 622-628.
Herrera AJ, Hsiang Y-H (1983) Comparison of various methods of blood sugar screening in newborn infants. Journal of pediatrics, 102: 769-772.
Ho KL, Loke HL, Tan KW (1991) Accuracy and reliability of two methods of screening for hypoglycemia in neonates. Journal of the Singapore pediatrics society, 33: 156-158.
Holtrop PC, Madison KA, Kiechle FL, Karcher RE, Batton DG (1990) A comparison of chromogen test strip (Chemstrip bG) and serum glucose values in newborns. American journal of diseases of children, 144: 183-185.
Holtrop PC (1993) The frequency of hypoglycemia in full-term large and small for gestational age newborns. American journal of perinatology, 10: 150-154.
Hume R, Burchell A (1993) Abnormal expression of glucose-6-phosphatase in preterm infants. Archives of disease in childhood, 68: 202-204.
Jarai I, Mestyan J, Schultz K, Lazar A, Halasz M, Krassy I (1977) Body size and neonatal hypoglycaemia in intrauterine growth retardation. Early human development, 1: 25-38.
Jones RAK, Roberton NRC (1986) Small for dates babies: are they really a problem? Archives of disease in childhood, 61: 877-880.
Joosten KF, Schellekens AP, Waelkens JJ, Wulffraat NM (1991) Erroneous diagnosis "neonatal hypoglycemia" due to incorrect preservation of blood samples. Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde, 135: 1691-1694.
Jouppila R, Kauppila A, Tuimila R et al. (1980) Maternal, fetal and neonatal effects of beta-adrenergic stimulation in connection with caesarian section. Acta obstetricia et gynecologica Scandinavica, 59: 489-493.
Kalhan SC, Savin SM, Adam PAJ (1976) Measurement of glucose turnover in the human newborn with glucose-1-13C. Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism, 43: 704-707.
Kalhan SC, Savin SM, Adam PAJ (1977) Attenuated glucose production rate in newborn infants of insulin dependent diabetic mothers. New England journal of medicine, 296: 375-376.
Kalhan SC, Oliven A, King KC, Lucero C (1986) Role of glucose in the regulation of endogenous glucose production in the human newborn. Pediatric research, 20: 49-52.
Kaplan M, Blondheim O, Alon I, Eylath U, Trestian S, Eidelman AI (1989) Screening for hypoglycemia with plasma in neonatal blood of high hematocrit value. Critical care medicine, 17: 279-282.
Koh THHG, Eyre JA, Aynsley-Green A (1988) Neonatal hypoglycaemia - the controversy regarding definition. Archives of disease in childhood, 63: 1386-1398.
Koh THHG, Aynsley-Green A, Tarbit M, Eyre JA (1988) Neural dysfunction during hypoglycaemia. Archives of disease in childhood, 63: 1353-1358.
Koivisto M, Blanco-Sequeiros M, Krause U (1972) Neonatal sympomatic and asymptomatic hypoglycaemia: a follow-up study. Developmental medicine and child neurology, 14: 603-614.
Kollee LA, Monnens LA, Cejka V, Wilms RH (1978) Persistent neonatal hypoglycaemia due to glucagon deficiency. Archives of disease in childhood, 53: 422-424.
Kraus H, Schlenker S, Schwedesky D (1974) Developmental changes of cerebral ketone body utilisation in human infants. Hoppe Zeyler's Zeitschrift für Physiologische Chemie, 355: 164-170.
Ktorza A, Bihoreau M-T, Nurjhan N, Picon L, Girard J (1985) Insulin and glucagon during the perinatal period: secretion and metabolic effects on the liver. Biology of the neonate, 48: 204-220.
Lang S, Lawrence CJ, Orme CL'E (1994) Cup feeding: an alternative method of infant feeding. Archives of disease in childhood, 71: 365-369.
LeDune MA (1972) Intravenous plasma glucose tolerance and plasma insulin studies in small for dates infants. Archives of disease in childhood, 47: 111-114.
Levitsky LL, Fisher DE, Paton JB et al. (1977) Fasting plasma levels of glucose, acetoacetate, D-b-hydroxybutyrate, glycerol and lactate in the baboon infant: correlation with cerebral uptake of substrates and oxygen. Pediatric research, 11: 298-302.
Lilien LD, Pildes RS, Srinivasan G, Voora S, Yeh TF (1980) Treatment of neonatal hypoglycemia with minibolus and intravenous glucose infusion. Journal of pediatrics, 97: 295-298.
Lin HC, Maguire C, Oh W, Cowett R (1989) Accuracy and reliability of glucose reflectance meters in the high-risk neonate. Journal of pediatrics, 115: 998-1000.
Lindblad BS (1970) The venous plasma free amino acid levels during the first hours of life. I. After normal and short gestation and gestation complicated by hypertension with special reference to the "small for dates" syndrome. Acta paediatrica Scandinavica, 59: 13-20.
Lindblad BS, Rahimtoola RJ, Khan N (1970) The venous plasma free amino acid levels during the first hours of life. II. In a lower socioeconomic group of a refugee area in Karachi, West Pakistan, with special reference to the "small for dates" syndrome. Acta paediatrica Scandinavica, 59: 21-24.
Lubchenco LO, Bard H (1971) Incidence of hypoglycemia in newborn infants classified by birth weight and gestational age. Pediatrics, 47: 831-838.
Lucas A, Adrian TE, Aynsley-Green A, Bloom SR (1980) Iatrogenic hyperinsulinism at birth. Lancet, i: 144-145.
Lucas A, Boyes S, Bloom SR, Aynsley-Green A (1981) Metabolic and endocrine responses to a milk feed in six-day-old term infants: differences between breast and cow's milk formula feeding. Acta paediatrica Scandinavica, 70: 195-200.
Lucas A (1987) AIDS and human milk bank closures. Lancet, i: 1092-1093.
Lucas A, Morley R, Cole TJ (1988) Adverse neurodevelopmental outcome of moderate neonatal hypoglycaemia. British medical journal (BMJ), 297: 1304-1308.
Lucas A, Cole TJ (1990) Breastmilk and neonatal necrotising enterocolitis. Lancet, 336: 1519-1523.
McKeown RE, Marsh D, Amarnath U, Garrison CZ, Addy CL, Thompson SJ, Austin TL (1992) Role of delayed feeding and of feeding increments in necrotising enterocolitis. Journal of pediatrics, 121: 764-770.
McQuarrie I (1954) Idiopathic spontaneously occurring hypoglycaemia in infants. American journal of diseases of children, 4: 399-428.
Mehta A, Wootton R, Cheng KN, Penfold P, Halliday D, Stacey TE (1987) Effect of diazoxide or glucagon on hepatic glucose production rate during extreme neonatal hypoglycaemia. Archives of disease in childhood, 62: 924-930.
Mehta A (1991) Hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia in small for dates babies. Archives of disease in childhood, 66: 749.
Mehta A (1994) Prevention and management of neonatal hypoglycaemia. Archives of disease in childhood, 70: F54-F65.
Melichar V, Drahota V, Hahn P (1967) Ketone bodies in the blood of full term newborns, premature and dysmature infants and infants of diabetic mothers. Biology of the neonate, 11: 23-28.
Mestyan J, Soltesz G, Schultz K, Horvath M (1975) Hyperaminoacidaemia due to the accumulation of gluconeogenic amino acid precursors in hypoglycaemic SGA infants. Journal of pediatrics, 87: 409-414.
Mestyan J, Schultz K, Soltesz G, Horvath M (1976) The metabolic effects of glucagon infusion in normoglycaemic and hypoglycaemic small for gestational age infants. II. Changes in plasma amino acids. Acta paediatrica academiae scientiarum Hungarica, 17: 245-253.
Miller HC, Ross RA (1940) Relation of hypoglycemia to the symptoms observed in infants of diabetic mothers. Journal of pediatrics, 16: 473-481.
Milner RDG, Ashworth MA, Barson AJ (1972) Insulin release from human foetal pancreas in response to glucose, leucine and arginine. Journal of endocrinology, 52: 497-505.
Nehlig A (1993) Imaging and the ontogeny of brain metabolism. Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism, 7(3): 627-642.
Nehlig A, Pereira de Vasconcelos A (1993) Glucose and ketone body utilisation by the brain of neonatal rats. Progress in Neurobiology, 40: 163-221.
Norval MA (1950) Blood sugar values in premature infants. Journal of pediatrics, 36: 177-184.
Office of Population Censuses & Surveys (1992) Infant feeding, 1990. London, Her Majesty's Stationery Office.
Owen O, Morgan A, Kemp H et al. (1967) Brain metabolism during fasting. Journal of clinical investigation, 46: 1589-1595.
Papagapiou MP, Auer RN (1990) Regional neuroprotective effects of the NMDA receptor anatagonist MK-801 (dizocilpine) in hypoglycemic brain damage. Journal of cerebral blood flow and metabolism, 10: 270-276.
Patel MS, Johnson CA, Rajan R, Owen OE (1975) The metabolism of ketone bodies in developing human brain: development of ketone body utilising enzymes and ketone bodies as precursors for lipid synthesis. Journal of neurochemistry, 25: 905-908.
Pearce JL, Buchanan LF (1979) Breastmilk and breastfeeding in very low birth weight infants. Archives of disease in childhood, 54: 897-899.
Pedersen J, Bojsen-Møller B, Poulsen H (1954) Blood sugar in newborn infants of diabetic mothers. Acta Endocrinol, 15: 33-52.
Perelman RH, Gutcher GR, Engle MJ, MacDonald MJ (1982) Comparative analysis of four methods for rapid glucose determination in neonates. American journal of diseases of children, 136: 1051-1053.
Persson B, Gentz J (1966) The pattern of blood lipids, glycerol and ketone bodies during the neonatal period, infancy and childhood. Acta paediatrica Scandinavica, 55: 353-362.
Pildes RS, Cornblath M, Warren I, Page-El E, di Menza DM, Peeva A (1974) A prospective controlled study of neonatal hypoglycemia. Pediatrics, 54: 5-14.
Procianoy RS, Pinheiro CEA (1982) Neonatal hyperinsulinaemia after short-term maternal beta-sympathomimetic therapy. Journal of pediatrics, 101: 612-614.
Pryds O, Greisen G, Friis-Hansen B (1988) Compensatory increase of CBF in preterm infants during hypoglycaemia. Acta paediatrica Scandinavica, 77: 632-637.
Pryds O, Christensen NJ, Friis-Hansen B (1990) Increased cerebral blood flow and plasma epinephrine in hypoglycemic preterm neonates. Pediatrics, 85: 172-176.
Rennie JM (1992) The newborn: Neonatal neurology. In: Campbell AGM et al., eds. Forfar & Arneil's Textbook of Paediatrics, McIntosh N, Edinburgh, Churchill Livingstone: 259-281.
Reynolds GJ, Davies S (1993) A clinical audit of cotside blood glucose measurement in the detection of neonatal hypoglycaemia. Journal of paediatrics and child health, 29: 289-291.
Sann L, Ruitton A, Mathieu M, Bourgeois J, Genoud J (1978) Effect of intravenous L-alanine administration on plasma glucose, insulin and glucagon, blood pyruvate, lactate and b-hydroxybutyrate concentrations in newborn infants. Acta paediatrica Scandinavica, 67: 297-302.
Sann L, Mathieu M, Lasne Y, Ruitton A (1981) Effect of oral administration of lipids with 67% medium chain triglycerides on glucose homeostasis in preterm neonates. Metabolism, 30: 712-716.
Sann L, Divry P, Lasne Y, Ruitton A (1982) Effect of oral lipid administration on glucose homeostasis in small-for-gestational age infants. Acta paediatrica Scandinavica, 71: 923-927.
Sann L, Mousson B, Rousson M, Maire I, Bethenod M (1988) Prevention of neonatal hypoglycaemia by oral lipid supplementation in low birth weight infants. European journal of pediatrics, 147: 158-161.
Saudubray JM, Narcy C, Lyonnet L, Bonnefont JP, Poll The BT, Munnich A (1990) Clinical approach to inherited metabolic disorders in neonates. Biology of the neonate, 58 (Suppl 1): 44-53.
Schwartz R (1991) Neonatal hypoglycaemia. Back to basics in diagnosis and treatment. Diabetes, 40 (Suppl 2): 71-73.
Settergren G, Lindblad BS, Persson B (1976) Cerebral blood flow and exchange of oxygen, glucose, ketone bodies, lactate, pyruvate and amino acids in infants. Acta paediatrica Scandinavica, 65: 343-353.
Sexson WR (1984) Incidence of neonatal hypoglycemia: A matter of definition. Journal of pediatrics, 105: 149-150.
Shah A, Stanhope R, Matthew D (1992) Hazards of pharmacological tests of growth hormone secretion childhood. British medical journal (BMJ), 304: 173-174.
Singh M, Singhal PK, Paul VK, Deorari AK, Sundaram KR, Ghorpade MD, Agadi A (1991) Neurodevelopmental outcome of asymptomatic and symptomatic babies with neonatal hypoglycaemia. Indian journal of medical research [B], 94: 6-10.
Singhal PK, Singh M, Paul VK, Malhotra AK, Deorari AK, Ghorpade MD (1991) A controlled study of sugar-fortified milk feeding for prevention of neonatal hypoglycaemia. Indian journal of medical research [B], 94: 342-345.
Skov L, Pryds O (1992) Capillary recruitment for preservation of cerebral glucose influx in hypoglycemic preterm newborns: Evidence for a glucose sensor? Pediatrics, 90: 193-195.
Smallpeice V, Davies PA (1964) Immediate feeding of premature infants with undiluted breastmilk. Lancet, ii: 1349-1352.
Srinivasan G, Pildes RS, Cattamanchi G, Voora S, Lilien LD (1986) Plasma glucose values in normal neonates: A new look. Journal of pediatrics, 109: 114-117.
Stanley CA, Anday EK, Baker L, Delivoria-Papadopoulos M (1979) Metabolic fuel and hormone responses to fasting in newborn infants. Pediatrics, 64: 613-619.
Stocks J (1980) Effect of nasogastric tubes on nasal resistance during infancy. Archives of disease in childhood, 55: 17-21.
Sunehag A, Gustafsson J, Ewald U (1994) Very immature infants (£30 wk) respond to glucose infusion with incomplete suppression of glucose production. Pediatric research, 36: 550-555.
Thomas DJB, Dore F, Alberti KGGM (1977) Metabolic effects of salbutamol infusion during premature labour. British journal of obstetrics and gynaecology, 84: 497-499.
Thurston JH, Hauhart RE, Schiro JA (1983) Lactate reverses insulin-induced hypoglycaemic stupor in suckling-weanling mice: Biochemical correlates in blood, liver and brain. Journal of cerebral blood flow and metabolism, 3: 498-506.
Togari H, Oda M, Wada Y (1987) Mechanism of erroneous Dextrostix readings. Archives of disease in childhood, 62: 408-409.
Vadasdi E, Jacobs E (1993) HemoCue b-glucose photometer evaluated for use in a neonatal intensive care unit. Clinical chemistry, 39: 2329-2332.
van den Bosch CA, Bullough CHW (1990) The effect of suckling on term neonates' core body temperature. Annals of tropical paediatrics, 10: 347-353.
Vidnes J, Oysaeter S (1977) Glucagon deficiency causing severe neonatal hypoglycaemia in a patient with normal insulin secretion. Pediatric research, 11: 943-945.
Ward Platt MP (1991) Hypoglycaemia in the newborn. RSM Curr Med Lit (Paediatrics), 4: 31-34.
Ward Platt MP, Hawdon JM (1993) Hypoglycaemia in the neonate. Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism, 7: 669-682.
Wharton BA, Bower BD (1965) Immediate or later feeding for premature babies: a controlled trial. Lancet, ii: 969-972.
Whitby C, deCates CR, Roberton NRC (1982) Infants weighing 1.8-2.5 kg: should they be cared for in neonatal units or on postnatal wards? Lancet, i: 322-325.
Whitelaw A, Heisterkamp G, Sleath K, Acolet D, Richards M (1988) Skin to skin contact for very low birth weight infants and their mothers. Archives of disease in childhood, 63: 1377-1381.
Wilkins BH, Kalra D (1982) Comparison of blood glucose test strips in the dtection of neonatal hypoglycaemia. Archives of disease in childhood, 57: 948-960.
Williams PR, Sperling MA, Racasa Z (1979) Blunting of spontaneous and alanine stimulated glucagon secretion in newborn infants of diabetic mothers. Journal of obstetrics and gynaecology, 133: 51-56.
Young RS, Petroff OA, Chen B, Aquila WJ Jr., Gore JC (1991) Preferential utilisation of lactate in neonatal dog brain: in vivo and in vitro proton NMR study. Biology of the neonate, 59: 46-53.
Many thanks are due to the following people for finding the time to read an earlier draft of all or part of this work and for providing helpful, constructive criticism: Professor Anna Alisyahbana (Indonesia), Professor A. Aynsley-Green (Institute of Child Health, London), Dr Anthony Costello (London), Dr Armeda Fernandes (Bombay), Dr Jane Hawdon (University College Hospitals, London), Professor WW Hay (Colorado), Dr Jane E McGowan (Pennsylvania), Dr A Mehta (Dundee), and Dr M Ward Platt (Newcastle).