Hypoglycemia is associated with increased risk for brain injury and adverse neurodevelopmental outcome in neonates at risk for encephalopathy

J Pediatr. 2012 Jul;161(1):88-93. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2011.12.047. Epub 2012 Feb 4.


Objective: To investigate the contribution of hypoglycemia in the first 24 hours after birth to brain injury in term newborns at risk for neonatal encephalopathy.

Study design: A prospective cohort of 94 term neonates born between 1994 and 2010 with early postnatal brain magnetic resonance imaging studies were analyzed for regions of brain injury. Neurodevelopmental outcome was assessed at 1 year of age.

Results: Hypoglycemia (glucose <46 mg/dL) in the first 24 hours after birth was detected in 16% of the cohort. Adjusting for potential confounders of early perinatal distress and need for resuscitation, neonatal hypoglycemia was associated with a 3.72-fold increased odds of corticospinal tract injury (P=.047). Hypoglycemia was also associated with 4.82-fold increased odds of 1-point worsened neuromotor score (P=.038) and a 15-point lower cognitive and language score on the Bayley Scales of Infant Development (P=.015).

Conclusion: Neonatal hypoglycemia is associated with additional risks in the setting of neonatal encephalopathy with increased corticospinal tract injury and adverse motor and cognitive outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain Diseases / epidemiology
  • Brain Diseases / etiology*
  • Child Development*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia / complications*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Nervous System / growth & development*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors