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Survey of the management of neonatal hyperglycaemia in Australasia


Dr Jane Alsweiler, Newborn Services, National Women’s Health, Auckland City Hospital, Private Bag 92024, Auckland, New Zealand. Fax: +64 9375 4373; email:


Aim:  Hyperglycaemia is a common problem in very low birthweight (VLBW) preterm neonates and has been associated with an increase in intraventricular haemorrhage and mortality. There are few data to guide clinicians on the best range of blood glucose levels to aim for when treating hyperglycaemic preterm babies with insulin. The aim of this study was to survey all Australasian tertiary neonatal intensive care units for their current practice in the definition and management of neonatal hyperglycaemia to aid in the design of a randomised controlled trial of the effect of tight glycaemic control on long-term outcome in VLBW babies.

Methods:  An online survey was sent to the 27 tertiary neonatal units in Australasia asking the respondents for details of their unit’s definition and management of hyperglycaemia in VLBW infants.

Results:  Twenty-three tertiary neonatal units responded to the questionnaire. There were six different definitions of hyperglycaemia, with most units defining neonatal hyperglycaemia as a blood glucose level greater than 10 mM. There were large variations in the criteria for commencing insulin (blood glucose level 8–15 mM ± glycosuria) and target blood glucose ranges for babies on insulin (ranging from 2.5–8 mM to 8–15 mM).

Conclusions:  There is a wide variation in the management of neonatal hyperglycaemia between tertiary neonatal units in Australasia. This reflects the paucity of data available in this area. Further research on the management of neonatal hyperglycaemia is needed.