Hypoglycemia occurs in 5% to 15% of neonates in the first few days. A significant proportion requires admission for intravenous fluids. Dextrose gel may reduce admissions and mother-infant separation. We aimed to study the utility of dextrose gel in reducing the need for intravenous fluids.
This stratified randomized control trial included at-risk infants with asymptomatic hypoglycemia. Study populations were stratified into 3 categories: small for gestational age (SGA) and intrauterine growth-restriction (IUGR), infants of diabetic mothers (IDM) and large for gestational age (LGA), and late preterm (LPT) neonates. Intervention group received dextrose gel followed by breastfeeding, and the control group (CG) received only breastfeeding.
Among 629 at-risk infants, 291 (46%) developed asymptomatic hypoglycemia; 147 (50.4%) in the dextrose gel group (DGG) and 144 (49.6%) in CG. There were 97, 98, and 96 infants in SGA/IUGR, IDM/LGA, and LPT categories, respectively. Treatment failure in the DGG was 17 (11.5%) compared to 58 (40.2%) in CG, with a risk ratio of 0.28 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.17–0.46; P < .001). Treatment failure was significantly less in DGG in all 3 categories: SGA/IUGR, IDM/LGA, and LPT with a risk ratio of 0.29 (95% CI:0.13-0.67), 0.31 (95% CI:0.14–0.66) and 0.24 (95% CI:0.09–0.66), respectively.
Dextrose gel reduces the need for intravenous fluids in at-risk neonates with asymptomatic hypoglycemia in the first 48 hours of life.