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Two-year outcomes after dextrose gel prophylaxis for neonatal hypoglycaemia


Objective To determine the effect of prophylactic dextrose gel for prevention of neonatal hypoglycaemia on neurodevelopment and executive function at 2 years’ corrected age.

Design Prospective follow-up of a randomised trial.

Setting New Zealand.

Patients Participants from the pre-hypoglycaemia Prevention with Oral Dextrose (pre-hPOD) trial randomised to one of four dose regimes of buccal 40% dextrose gel or equivolume placebo.

Main outcome measures Coprimary outcomes were neurosensory impairment and executive function. Secondary outcomes were components of the primary outcomes, neurology, anthropometry and health measures.

Results We assessed 360 of 401 eligible children (90%) at 2 years’ corrected age. There were no differences between dextrose gel dose groups, single or multiple dose groups, or any dextrose and any placebo groups in the risk of neurosensory impairment or low executive function (any dextrose vs any placebo neurosensory impairment: relative risk (RR) 0.77, 95% CI 0.50 to 1.19, p=0.23; low executive function: RR 0.50, 95% CI 0.24 to 1.06, p=0.07). There were also no differences between groups in any secondary outcomes. There was no difference between children who did or did not develop neonatal hypoglycaemia in the risk of neurosensory impairment (RR 1.05, 95% CI 0.68 to 1.64, p=0.81) or low executive function (RR 0.73, 95% CI 0.34 to 1.59, p=0.43).

Conclusion Prophylactic dextrose gel did not alter neurodevelopment or executive function and had no adverse effects to 2 years’ corrected age, but this study was underpowered to detect potentially clinically important effects on neurosensory outcomes.

  • neonatology
  • neurology

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. Published data are available to approved researchers under the data sharing arrangements provided by the Maternal and Perinatal Central Coordinating Research Hub (CCRH), based at the Liggins Institute, University of Auckland ( Metadata, along with instructions for data access, are available at the University of Auckland’s research data repository, Figshare ( Data access requests are to be submitted to Data Access Committee via De-identified published data will be shared with researchers who provide a methodologically sound proposal and have appropriate ethical and institutional approval. Researchers must sign and adhere to the Data Access Agreement that includes a commitment to using the data only for the specified proposal, to refrain from any attempt to identify individual participants, to store data securely and to destroy or return the data after completion of the project. The CCRH reserves the right to charge a fee to cover the costs of making data available, if required.

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