Aim: To evaluate the effects of a single loading dose of caffeine base (10 mg/kg) on superior mesenteric artery (SMA) blood flow velocities (BFV).
Methods: Eighteen preterm infants of gestational age <or=32 weeks gestation were investigated prospectively. SMA BFV before infusion, 1 h, 2 h and 6 h after a single loading dose of caffeine were measured using Doppler ultrasonography.
Results: The peak systolic velocity in SMA decreased by 18% from baseline at 1 h after caffeine infusion and improved towards the baseline by 6 h after the infusion. The reduction in velocity after caffeine infusion was not statistically significant. No significant changes were observed in heart rate, blood pressure and incidence of necrotising enterocolitis.
Conclusion: A single 10 mg/kg intravenous loading dose of caffeine does not cause a significant reduction in SMA BFV and therefore does not place the preterm intestine at increased risk of ischemic injury.