Plasma Catecholamine Levels in Preterm Infants

Effect of Birth Asphyxia and Apgar Score


(A. G.) Department of Child Health King's College Hospital Denmark Hill Londen SE5 8RX, U.K.


ABSTRACT. Catecholamine levels were measured in cord arterial blood from preterm infants. Relatively lower catecholamine levels were found in the preterm infants than in term infants, although no significant correlation was found between noradrenaline and adrenaline levels and either gestational age or birthweight. Significantly higher catecholamine levels were found after labour. Preterm females had significantly higher catecholamine levels than boys after asphyxia and tended also to have higher catecholamine levels without asphyxia, although not significant. Catecholamine levels were also significantly elevated in those infants with a low Apgar score (<7 at 5 min) and those who were acidotic (cord arterial pH <7.25). A good correlation was found between a low Apgar score and the presence of acidosis.