This randomised study aimed to compare the biochemical tolerance of three parenteral regimens administered during the first 48 hours of life. Twenty nine infants were randomised to either: (a) glucose 10%; (b) glucose 10%/amino acids; (c) glucose 10%/amino acids/lipid. Blood samples for plasma amino acid profiles, cholesterol, and triglyceride concentrations were taken on arrival in the neonatal unit and again between 36 and 48 hours of life. Arterial or capillary blood gas analysis and blood glucose estimates were performed routinely during the first 48 hours of life. There was a sharp decline in plasma amino acid concentrations in the group following (a) compared with the two groups following (b) and (c) regimens. In all groups plasma triglyceride and cholesterol were not significantly different before and after 48 hours of lipid infusion. Peak mean (SE) bilirubin concentrations (203 (12) v 181 (19) v 220 (20) mumol/l) and the need for phototherapy (nine v eight v five infants) were similar for each of the groups. Hypoglycaemia occurred most frequently during the (b) regimen and least commonly in the (c) group. There are potential health gains from giving parenteral nutrition to low birthweight infants immediately after birth, and this study indicates that restriction of nutritional intake immediately after birth in preterm infants may cause significant metabolic disturbance. This can be prevented by starting a regimen of intravenous amino acids and lipid immediately after birth.
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