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Incorporating dextrose gel and feeding in the treatment of neonatal hypoglycaemia
  1. Katherine Gregory1,2,
  2. Daria Turner1,
  3. Charis Nicole Benjamin1,
  4. Carmen Monthe-Dreze1,2,
  5. Lise Johnson1,2,
  6. Shelley Hurwitz1,2,
  7. Joseph Wolfsdorf2,3,
  8. Sarbattama Sen1,2
  1. 1 Pediatric Newborn Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  2. 2 Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
  3. 3 Department of Endocrinology, Children’s Hospital Boston, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sarbattama Sen, Pediatric Newborn Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA; ssen2{at}


Objectives To determine the impact of incorporating dextrose gel in the treatment of neonatal hypoglycaemia (NH) and the role of feeding type in NH outcomes.

Study design We conducted a retrospective analysis of 2688 infants >35 weeks’ gestation who were screened for NH before and after implementation of a clinical guideline for NH evaluation and treatment. We analysed the proportion of infants who required intravenous dextrose for NH before and after guideline implementation, the change in blood glucose concentrations with gel by feeding type and the odds of successful NH treatment with gel and feeding by feeding type.

Results Following implementation of the guideline, a lower proportion of infants required intravenous dextrose for NH treatment (8.6% (60 infants) before guideline vs. 5.6% (112 infants) after guideline (p=0.007)). The median rise in blood glucose concentration with gel administration in the entire cohort was 0.61 mmol/L (11 mg/dL) (IQR 0.28–1.06 mmol/L (5–19 mg/dL)). Blood glucose concentration of formula-fed infants rose more in response to feeding and gel than breastfed infants (p≤0.0001). Formula feeding was associated with a lower odds of recurrent hypoglycaemia, as defined by requiring a second gel, in a fully adjusted model. Specifically, in infants with a pregel blood glucose of 2.00–2.17 mmol/L (36–39 mg/dL), formula feeding with gel was associated with a lower odds of recurrent hypoglycaemia.

Conclusions Dextrose gel is an effective tool in the treatment of NH. An infant’s pregel blood glucose concentration may be helpful in guiding decisions around type of feeding provided.

  • endocrinology
  • infant feeding
  • neonatology

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  • Contributors KG, DT, CM-D and SS were responsible for the design, conduct, analysis of the study and wrote the first draft of the manuscript. SH and JW contributed to the analysis and manuscript revisions.

  • Funding SS is supported by K23 HD 074648.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement The data for this study have not yet been published or shared with anyone outside of the authorship team.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.