Abstention or intervention for isolated hypotension in the first 3 days of life in extremely preterm infants: association with short-term outcomes in the EPIPAGE 2 cohort study

Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2017 Nov;102(6):490-496. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2016-312104. Epub 2017 Mar 16.


Objective: To compare outcomes at hospital discharge for preterm infants born before 29 weeks of gestation who had at least one episode of isolated hypotension during their first 72 hours of life for which they did or did not receive antihypotensive treatment.

Design: Etude Epidémiologique sur les Petits Ages Gestationnels 2 (EPIPAGE 2) French national prospective population-based cohort study in 2011.

Setting: 60 neonatal intensive care units.

Patients: All infants with a minimum mean arterial blood pressure less than gestational age (in weeks) (minMAP<GA) within 72 hours of birth. Infants whose reason for receiving antihypotensive treatments was isolated hypotension only were compared with untreated hypotensive infants by propensity score matching.

Treatments: Fluid bolus and/or inotropes and/or corticosteroids.

Main outcomes and measures: The primary outcome was survival at hospital discharge without major morbidity, defined as any of necrotising enterocolitis, severe cerebral abnormalities, severe bronchopulmonary dysplasia or severe retinopathy of prematurity.

Results: Among the 1532 infants with available data, 662 had a minMAP<GA; 206 were treated for unknown or other reasons than isolated hypotension, 131 were treated for isolated hypotension only and 325 were untreated; 119 infants from each of these last two groups were matched. Treated infants had a significantly higher survival rate without major morbidity (61.3% vs 48.7%; OR, 1.67, 95% CI 1.00 to 2.78, p=0.049) and a lower rate of severe cerebral abnormalities (10.1% vs 26.5%, p=0.002).

Conclusions: In this population, antihypotensive treatment was associated with improved short-term outcomes. Therapeutic abstention should be cautiously considered for early isolated hypotension in extremely premature infants.

Keywords: Circulatory; Epidemiology; Intensive Care; Neonatology.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Pressure
  • Cardiotonic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Disease Management
  • Female
  • Fluid Therapy / methods*
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hypotension / complications
  • Hypotension / drug therapy*
  • Infant
  • Infant Mortality
  • Infant, Extremely Premature
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal
  • Male
  • Propensity Score
  • Prospective Studies
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Cardiotonic Agents
  • Glucocorticoids