Glucose infusions into peripheral veins in the management of neonatal hypoglycemia – 20% instead of 15%?


O Tammela, M.D., PhD, Department of Pediatrics, Pediatric Research Centre, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland, P.O. Box 2000,
FIN 33521 Tampere, Finland.
Tel: +358 3 311 66334
Fax: +358 3 311 64394


Aim: To establish whether peripheral intravenous 20% glucose solutions would cause less local irritation, fewer cannulation changes and less weight gain than 15% glucose in newborn infants.

Methods: A total of 121 newborn infants with hypoglycemia were randomized to receive either 20% (group 20%, 60 infants) or 15% (group 15%, 61 infants) glucose infusions, which were initiated at 8 mg/kg/min rates and tapered according to the blood glucose levels. When the cannulation site had to be changed, signs of phlebitis at the previous cannulation site were scored (0–3). Number of cannulation site changes, durations of infusions and the infants’ daily weights were recorded.

Results: The median durations of infusions in groups 20 and 15% were 4 (range 2–7) days versus 4 (range 2–8) days and the median number of cannulation site changes were 1 (range 0–6) versus 1 (range 0–5), respectively. Thirty-six infants in group 20% and 37 in group 15% developed some phlebitis, median severity scores being 1 (range 0–7) versus 15% 1 (range 0–8). The weights during the treatment were also similar.

Conclusion:  20% and 15% glucose solutions can be infused equally safely into peripheral veins in neonates.