The objective of this study was to determine whether hyperglycemia during the first week of life in extremely preterm (EPT) infants was associated with increased mortality rates and with cerebral injury, as assessed with MRI of the brain, at term-equivalent age.
All 143 EPT infants (gestational ages of <27 weeks) who were born at Karolinska University Hospital between January 2004 and December 2006 and were alive at 24 hours were eligible. Of the 118 surviving infants, 24 were excluded for various reasons. MRI was performed for the 94 included survivors at term age, with a 1.5-T system, and scans were scored for gray matter/white matter (WM) abnormalities. Of the 25 infants who died before term age, 6 were excluded because of missing glucose documentation and the remaining 19 were included. Hyperglycemia was defined as plasma glucose levels of >8.3 mmol/L.
Hyperglycemia occurring on the first day of life was identified as an independent risk factor for death (adjusted odds ratio: 3.7 [95% confidence interval: 1.3–10.6]; P = .01). Hyperglycemia occurring on the first day of life also was a risk factor for WM reduction, as determined through MRI, at term-equivalent age (adjusted odds ratio: 3.1 [95% confidence interval: 1.0–9.2]; P = .04).
In this population-based cohort of EPT infants, hyperglycemia on the first day of life was associated with increased mortality rates and brain damage, as reflected by WM reduction at term age.