Neurodevelopmental outcomes after moderate to severe neonatal hypoglycemia

Annett Helleskov Rasmussen*, Sonja Wehberg, Fani Pørtner, Anna Marie Larsen, Karen Filipsen, Henrik Thybo Christesen

*Corresponding author for this work

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The long-term consequences of transient neonatal hypoglycemia are sparsely studied. We performed a follow-up of a cohort of neonates with blood glucose recordings < 1.7 mmol/L (< 30 mg/dL), treated with > 2.5 mmol/L (> 45 mg/dL), compared with healthy siblings. Exclusion criteria were gestational age < 35 weeks, severe asphyxia, head injury, and other cerebral diseases. In 71 children with neonatal hypoglycemia and 32 control siblings, Wechsler IV cognitive test, Movement ABC-2 test, and Child Behavior Checklist were performed at mean age 7.75 and 9.17 years, respectively. No significant changes were detected for cognitive function by using Wechsler IV or for behavior by using Child Behavior Checklist. In univariate analysis, the hypoglycemia group had lower age-adjusted fine motor scores by using the Movement ABC-2 test compared with control siblings, 42.6 ± 31.2 vs. 57.2 ± 30.8 percentile (p = 0.03). In the sibling-paired analysis, the decrease in total motor score was highly significant, p = 0.009, driven by a decrease in fine motor score, p = 0.008. In the hypoglycemia group, adjusted analysis showed a lower fine motor function for boys, β = − 16.4, p = 0.048. Conclusion: Neonatal hypoglycemia treated with > 2.5 mmol/L was associated with lower fine motor scores within the normal range, particularly in boys. No associations with cognitive function or behavior were detected.What is Known:• Transient neonatal hypoglycemia is associated with acute neurologic dysfunction and long-term neurodevelopment impairment in 18 months of age.What is New:• Neonatal hypoglycemia treated with > 2.5 mmol/L is associated with lower fine motor function within the normal range, particularly in boys, but not to changes in cognitive function or behavior.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Pediatrics
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)1981–1991
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Cerebral impairment
  • Follow-up
  • Neonatal hypoglycemia
  • Risk groups


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