Outcome at 2 Years after Dextrose Gel Treatment for Neonatal Hypoglycemia: Follow-Up of a Randomized Trial

J Pediatr. 2016 Mar;170:54-9.e1-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2015.10.066. Epub 2015 Nov 21.


Objective: To determine neurodevelopmental outcome at 2 years' corrected age in children randomized to treatment with dextrose gel or placebo for hypoglycemia soon after birth (The Sugar Babies Study).

Study design: This was a follow-up study of 184 children with hypoglycemia (<2.6 mM [47 mg/dL]) in the first 48 hours and randomized to either dextrose (90/118, 76%) or placebo gel (94/119, 79%). Assessments were performed at Kahikatea House, Hamilton, New Zealand, and included neurologic function and general health (pediatrician assessed), cognitive, language, behavior, and motor skills (Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development, Third Edition), executive function (clinical assessment and Behaviour Rating Inventory of Executive Function-Preschool Edition), and vision (clinical examination and global motion perception). Coprimary outcomes were neurosensory impairment (cognitive, language or motor score below -1 SD or cerebral palsy or blind or deaf) and processing difficulty (executive function or global motion perception worse than 1.5 SD from the mean). Statistical tests were two sided with 5% significance level.

Results: Mean (± SD) birth weight was 3093 ± 803 g and mean gestation was 37.7 ± 1.6 weeks. Sixty-six children (36%) had neurosensory impairment (1 severe, 6 moderate, 59 mild) with similar rates in both groups (dextrose 38% vs placebo 34%, relative risk 1.11, 95% CI 0.75-1.63). Processing difficulty also was similar between groups (dextrose 10% vs placebo 18%, relative risk 0.52, 95% CI 0.23-1.15).

Conclusions: Dextrose gel is safe for the treatment of neonatal hypoglycemia, but neurosensory impairment is common among these children.

Trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: ACTRN 12608000623392.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Australia
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects
  • Child Development
  • Child, Preschool
  • Developmental Disabilities / drug therapy
  • Developmental Disabilities / etiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gels
  • Glucose / administration & dosage*
  • Glucose / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia / complications
  • Hypoglycemia / drug therapy*
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / drug therapy
  • Male
  • New Zealand
  • Sweetening Agents / administration & dosage*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Gels
  • Sweetening Agents
  • Glucose

Associated data

  • ANZCTR/ACTRN12608000623392