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Journal of the Korean Society of Neonatology 1997;4(2):238-245.
Published online January 1, 2001.
Clincal Features of Methemoglobinemia in Newborn Diarrhea Infant.
Hyun Geun Kim, Chun Soo Kim, Sang Lak Lee
Newborn infants with diarrhea, metabolic acidosis and dehydration may develop methemoglobinemia without exposure to oxidizing agents. This study was undertaken to investigate clinical features in the development of methemoglobinemia in newborn infants with diarrhea.
This study involved 16 newborn infants with diarrhea who were admitted to NICU at Dong San Medical Center between January 1995 and June 1996. We investigated the age of onset of methemoglobinemia, sex ratio, level of methemoglobin in the blood, feeding methods, clinical manifestations, arterial blood gas findings, the results of culture findings and the response to therapy. RESULT: 1) The age of onset was beyond the second week of life in most cases, no sex predilection was noted and formula feeding was used in all cases. 2) Methemoglobin level in the blood was 10.1-20.0% in 7 cases, 20.1-30.0% in 6 cases, 30.1-40.0% in 2 cases and above 40.1% in one case. 3) Clinical rnanifestations on admission: moderate to severe dehydration developed in all patients with diarrhea along with respiratory distress in 13 cases, cyanosis in 6 cases, fever was noted in 5 cases, vomiting in 5 cases, while 2 cases presented with abdominal distention. Combined diseases included metabolic acidosis in most cases (93.8%), hypokalemia in 6, failure to thrive in 3, chronic diarrhea in 2, hyponatremia in 2, necrotizing enterocolitis in 1 and hepatitis was found in one case. 4) In all cases, there were no pathogenic organisms found in either blood or urine cultures along with similar negative findings in stool cultures, and Rotazyme test results using ELISA method were negative. 5) Rehydration and correction of acidosis with sodium bicarbonate was accomplished in all patients and 11 cases with greater than 15% methemoglobin were treated with methylene blue, 2mg/kg as a 1% solution in normal saline. Response to methylene blue was indicated in 1 to 2 hours in all cases although there was a reoccurrence of methemoglobinemia after an initial response in 2 cases, they both responded favorably with retreatment with methylene blue.
In all newborn infant with diarrhea, dehydration and metabolic acidosis, screening tests for early diagnosis of methemoglobinemia should be considered with prompt fluid replacement therapy.
Key Words: Methemoglobinemia, Newborn, Diarrhea


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