Hypoglycaemia of the newborn: a review

Bull World Health Organ. 1997;75(3):261-90.


It is almost a century since hypoglycaemia (a reduction in the glucose concentration of circulating blood) was first described in children, and over 50 years since the condition was first recognized in infants. Nevertheless, controversy still surrounds the definition, significance, and management of neonatal hypoglycaemia. Technological developments such as bedside glucose monitoring have, paradoxically, exacerbated rather than eased the situation. This article reviews the literature on hypoglycaemia of the newborn, and covers the following: historical aspects; glucose homeostasis and metabolic adaptation at birth; the effect of low blood glucose levels on the central nervous system; the definition of hypoglycaemia; screening; prevention; treatment; research needs; and concludes with recommendations for prevention and management.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Blood Glucose Self-Monitoring
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia / complications
  • Hypoglycemia / diagnosis*
  • Hypoglycemia / metabolism
  • Hypoglycemia / therapy*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Neonatal Screening
  • Primary Prevention
  • Risk Factors


  • Blood Glucose