Indexed on: 21 Jul '15Published on: 21 Jul '15Published in: PloS one
Neonatal hypothermia remains a common problem and is related to elevated morbidities and mortality. However, the long-term neurodevelopmental effects of admission hypothermia are still unknown. This study attempted to determine the short-term and long-term consequences of admission hypothermia in VLBW preterm infants.This retrospective study measured the incidence and compared the outcomes of admission hypothermia in very low birth weight (VLBW) preterm infants in a tertiary-level neonatal intensive care unit. Infants were divided into the following groups: normothermia (36.5-37.5°C), mild hypothermia (36.0-36.4°C), moderate hypothermia (32.0-35.9°C), and severe hypothermia (< 32°C). We compared the distribution, demographic variables, short-term outcomes, and neurodevelopmental outcomes at 24 months of corrected age among groups.We studied 341 infants: 79 with normothermia, 100 with mild hypothermia, 162 with moderate hypothermia, and 0 with severe hypothermia. Patients in the moderate hypothermia group had significantly lower gestational ages (28.1 wk vs. 29.7 wk, P < .02) and smaller birth weight (1004 g vs. 1187 g, P < .001) compared to patients in the normothermia group. Compared to normothermic infants, moderately hypothermic infants had significantly higher incidences of 1-min Apgar score < 7 (63.6% vs. 31.6%, P < .001), respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) (58.0% vs. 39.2%, P = .006), and mortality (18.5% vs. 5.1%, P = .005). Moderate hypothermia did not affect neurodevelopmental outcomes at 2 years' corrected age. Mild hypothermia had no effect on short-term or long-term outcomes.Admission hypothermia was common in VLBW infants and correlated inversely with birth weight and gestational age. Although moderate hypothermia was associated with higher RDS and mortality rates, it may play a limited role among multifactorial causes of neurodevelopmental impairment.