Jump to navigation Jump to search
A premature infant is one born before 37 weeks of gestation.
Essentially there are two bigs things that you need to worry about:
These are conditions with a higher incidence in premature babies but are less common than RDS:
- Pneumothorax - more common in RDS. Treated by insertion of chest drain.
- Apnoea, bradycardia and desaturation - all common. Usually treated by physical stimulation. Stimulants and CPAP can be used if more serious.
- Brain inury - haemorrhages occur in 25% of preterm infants, usually with asphyxia or severe RDS.
- Necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) - bacterial infection of ischaemic bowel. Abdomen is distend, stool sometimes contains fresh blood. Bowel distended on X-ray. Treat with parenteral nutrition and broad-spectrum antibiotics.
- Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) - basically, they get a retinopathy because the blood vessels to the retina are not fully blood vessels.
- Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) - infants who still need O2 after the date of 36 weeks gestation. X-ray can be abnormal. Steroids, oxygen and sometimes CPAP can help.