Hypotension in preterm neonates: low blood pressure alone does not affect neurodevelopmental outcome

J Pediatr. 2014 May;164(5):986-91. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2013.12.042. Epub 2014 Jan 28.


Objective: To compare neurodevelopmental outcome, mean arterial blood pressure (MABP), and regional cerebral oxygenation (rSco2) between preterm neonates treated for hypotension and controls.

Study design: Preterm neonates (N = 66) with a gestational age (GA) ≤32 weeks, without a patent ductus arteriosus, treated for hypotension (dopamine ≥5 μg/kg/min) were included. Neonates were matched to controls for GA, birth weight, sex, and year of birth. The rSco2 was determined by using near-infrared spectroscopy. Monitoring of MABP, rSco2, and arterial saturation was started at admission and continued for at least 72 hours. Neurodevelopmental outcome was assessed at 18 and 24 months' corrected age by using the Griffiths Mental Development Scales or the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development, Third Edition.

Results: Infants treated for hypotension spent more time with an MABP less than GA (median 9% vs 0%, P < .001) and time with an MABP/rSco2 correlation >0.5 (27% vs 17%, P < .001). Time spent with an rSco2 <50% and neurodevelopmental outcome at 18 and 24 months' corrected age were not significantly different between infants treated for hypotension and controls. The 26 neonates with an rSco2 <50% for >10% of time had a lower neurodevelopmental outcome at 18 months (median 99 vs 104, P = .02).

Conclusion: An MABP less than GA (in weeks) was not associated with lower rSco2 or with lower neurodevelopmental outcome scores. However, regardless of MABP, low rSco2 was associated with lower neurodevelopmental outcome scores. Perfusion/oxygenation variables could be of additional value in neonatal intensive care.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Brain / blood supply
  • Cardiotonic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child, Preschool
  • Developmental Disabilities / diagnosis
  • Developmental Disabilities / etiology*
  • Dopamine / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypotension / blood
  • Hypotension / complications*
  • Hypotension / diagnosis
  • Hypotension / drug therapy
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases* / blood
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases* / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spectroscopy, Near-Infrared
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Biomarkers
  • Cardiotonic Agents
  • Oxygen
  • Dopamine