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Neonatal Med > Volume 22(3); 2015 > Article
Neonatal Medicine 2015;22(3):133-141.
DOI:    Published online August 31, 2015.
Glucose Homeostasis Disorders in Premature Infants.
Byong Sop Lee
Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
An abnormal plasma glucose concentration is one of the most commonly encountered metabolic problems in the intensive care of premature infants. Compared with term infants, glycogen reserves are lower in the preterm neonatal liver. Despite this, preterm infants are at a greater risk of hyperglycemia than term infants are, which is owing to comparable production rate of endogenous glucose and impaired ability to reduce glucose production rate in response to hyperglycemia. Debate continues about the normal plasma glucose concentrations and the guideline for glucose control in premature infants. Some randomized controlled trials in very low birth weight infants demonstrated little clinical benefit of tight glycemic control with early insulin therapy and higher calorie intake in terms of mortality, morbidities and growth parameters. Compared with term infants, preterm infants have limited endocrine and metabolic adaptation to hypoglycemia. In any case, hypoglycemia in premature infants should not be considered a physiologic condition. The operational criteria for intervention of hypoglycemia should be different from that in term infants. Continuous non-invasive glucose monitoring is a promising tool considering the principle of minimal handling of extremely premature infants. However, the clinical implication of abnormal glucose concentrations, previously undetected on intermittent measurements, is unclear.
Key Words: Glucose; Hyperglycemia; Hypoglycemia; Insulin; Premature infant


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