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September 2021
Naim Shehadeh MD, Aryeh Simmonds MD, Samuel Zangen MD, Arieh Riskin MD MHA, and Raanan Shamir MD

Background: Infants born very prematurely have functionally and structurally immature gastrointestinal tracts.

Objectives: To assess the safety and tolerability of administration of enteral recombinant human (rh) insulin on formula fed preterm infants and to assess whether enteral administration of rh-insulin enhances gastrointestinal tract maturation by reducing the time to reach full enteral feeding.

Methods: A phase 2, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study was conducted. Premature infants (26–33 weeks gestation) were randomized 1:1 to receive insulin 400 μU/ml mixed with enteral feeding or placebo added to their formula. The primary efficacy outcome measure was the number of days required to achieve full enteral feeding. Safety outcomes included adverse events and blood glucose levels.

Results: The study consisted of 33 infants randomized for the safety population and 31 for efficacy analysis. The mean time to full enteral feeding was 6.37 days (95% confidence interval [95%CI] 4.59–8.15) in the enteral rh-insulin treatment group (n=16) and 8.00 days (95%CI 6.20–9.80) in the placebo group (n=15), which represents a statistically significant reduction of 1.63 days (95%CI 0.29–2.97; P = 0.023). There was no difference in blood glucose levels between the groups and none of the participants experienced hypoglycemia. Adverse events occurred in 9/17 (53%) infants in the enteral rh-insulin group and 12/16 (75%) in the placebo group.

Conclusions: Our trial demonstrated that administration of enteral rh-insulin as supplement to enteral nutrition significantly reduced time to achieve full enteral feeding in preterm infants with a gestational age of 26–33 weeks.

November 2019
Ram Mazkereth MD, Ayala Maayan-Metzger MD, Leah Leibovitch MD, Irit Schushan-Eisen MD, Iris Morag MD and Tzipora Straus MD M.Sc

Background: The need for postnatal monitoring of infants exposed to intrauterine beta blockers (BBs) has not been clearly defined.

Objectives: To evaluate infants exposed to intrauterine BBs in order to estimate the need for postnatal monitoring.

Methods: This retrospective case-control study comprised 153 term infants born to mothers who had been treated with BBs during pregnancy. Treatment indications included hypertension 76 mothers (49.7%), cardiac arrhythmias 48 (31.4%), rheumatic heart disease 14 (9.1%), cardiomyopathy 11 (7.2%) and migraine 4 (2.6%). The controls were infants of mothers with hypertension not exposed to BBs who were born at the same gestational age and born closest (before or after) to the matched infant in the study group.

Results: Compared to the control group, the infants in the study group had a higher prevalence of early asymptomatic hypoglycemia (study 30.7% vs. control 18.3%, P = 0.016), short symptomatic bradycardia events, other cardiac manifestations (P = 0.016), and longer hospitalization (P < 0.001). No life-threatening medical conditions were documented. The birth weight was significantly lower for the high-dose subgroup compared to the low-dose subgroup (P = 0.03), and the high-dose subgroup had a higher incidence of small-for-gestational-age (P = 0.02).

Conclusions: No alarming or life-threatening medical conditions were observed among term infants born to BB treated mothers. These infants can be safely observed for 48 hours after birth close to their mothers in the maternity ward. Glucose follow-up is needed, especially in the first hours of life.


June 2015
Arieh Riskin MD MHA, Corina Hartman MD and Raanan Shamir MD


Parenteral nutrition (PN) must be initiated as soon as possible after delivery in very low birth weight (VLBW) preterm infants in order to prevent postnatal growth failure and improve neurodevelopmental outcome. When administered early, high levels of parenteral amino acids (AA) are well tolerated and prevent negative nitrogen balance. Although proteins are the driving force for growth, protein synthesis is energy demanding. Intravenous lipid emulsions (ILE) constitute a good energy source because of their high energy density and provide essential fatty acids (FA) along with their long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LC-PUFA) derivatives necessary for central nervous system and retinal development. Early supply of ILE is not associated with increased morbidity. No significant differences were found between ILE based on soybean oil only and mixed ILE containing soybean oil in combination with other fat sources, except for a reduction in the incidence of sepsis with non-pure soybean ILE, and possibly less PN-associated liver disease with mixed ILE containing some fish oil. In preterm infants glucose homeostasis is still immature in the first days of life and abnormalities of glucose homeostasis are common. VLBW infants may not tolerate high levels of glucose infusion without hyperglycemia. Administering lower levels of glucose infusion as part of full early PN seems more successful than insulin at this stage. Postpartum there is a transition period when the water and electrolyte balance may be severely disturbed and should be closely monitored. Avoiding fluid overload is critical for preventing respiratory and other morbidities

June 2011
A. Schlez, I. Litmanovitz, S. Bauer, T. Dolfin, R. Regev and S. Arnon

Background: Music therapy has been recommended as an adjuvant therapy for both preterm infants and mothers during their stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), and has been shown to have beneficial effects.

Objectives: To study the usefulness of combining live harp music therapy and kangaroo care (KC) on short-term physiological and behavioral parameters of preterm infants and their mothers in the NICU setting.

Methods: Included in this study were stable infants born between 32 and 37 weeks of gestation, with normal hearing .Mother-infant dyads were randomly assigned to KC and live harp music therapy or to KC alone. Using repeated measures, neonatal and maternal heart rate, oxygen saturation and respiratory rate were recorded along with neonatal behavioral state and maternal anxiety state. Maternal age, ethnicity, education, and love of music were documented.

Results: Fifty-two mother-infant dyads were tested. Compared with KC alone, KC and live harp music therapy had a significantly beneficial effect on maternal anxiety score (46.8 ± 10 vs. 27.7 ± 7.1, respectively, P < 0.01). Infants’ physiological responses and behavior did not differ significantly. No correlation was found between mothers’ age, ethnicity, years of education and affinity for music, and anxiety scores (P = 0.2 to 0.5 for all four variables).

Conclusions: KC combined with live harp music therapy is more beneficial in reducing maternal anxiety than KC alone. This combined therapy had no apparent effect on the tested infants’ physiological responses or behavioral state.

January 2011
Y. Landau, I. Berger, R. Marom, D. Mandel, L. Ben Sira, A. Fattal-Valevski, T. Peylan, L. Levi, S. Dolberg and H. Bassan

Background: Major advances in the treatment of perinatal asphyxial–hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy followed the translation of hypothermia animal studies into successful randomized controlled clinical trials that substantially influenced the current standard of care.

Objectives: To present our preliminary experience with the first cases of clinical application of therapeutic hypothermia for PA-HIE[1] in what we believe is the first report on non-experimental hypothermia for PA-HIE from Israel.

Methods: We reviewed the medical records, imaging scans, electroencephalograms and outcome data of the six identified asphyxiated newborns who were managed with hypothermia in our services in 2008–2009.

Results: All asphyxiated newborns required resuscitation and were encephalopathic. Systemic hypothermia (33.5ºC) was begun at a median age of 4.2 hours of life (range 2.5–6 hours) and continued for 3 days. All six infants showed a significantly depressed amplitude integrated electroencephalography background, and five had electrographic seizures. One infant died (16%) after 3.5 days. Major complications included fat necrosis and hypercalcemia (n=1), pneumothorax (n=1), and meconium aspiration syndrome (n=2). None of the infants developed major bleeding. Neurodevelopmental follow-up of the five surviving infants at median age 7.2 months (4.1–18.5 months) revealed developmental delays (Battelle screening), with their motor scores ranging from -1 to +1 standard deviation (Bayley scale). None developed feeding problems, oculomotor abnormalities, spasticity or seizures.

Conclusions: Our preliminary experience with this novel modality in a large Tel Aviv neonatal service is consistent with the clinical findings of published trials.

[1] PA-HIE = perinatal asphyxial–hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy

A. Gover, D. Bader, M. Weinger-Abend, I. Chystiakov, E. Miller, A. Riskin, O. Hochwald, L. Beni-Adani, E. Tirosh and A. Kugelman

Background: The rate of brain abnormalities in asymptomatic term neonates varies substantially in previous studies. Some of these rates may justify general screening of healthy newborns by head ultrasound.

Objectives: To assess the incidence of intracranial abnormalities among asymptomatic term newborns with HUS[1] and to detect high-risk populations that might need such screening.

Methods: This was a prospective study in 493 term newborns who underwent HUS and a neurological evaluation during the first 3 days of life. The neurological examination results were unknown to the sonographist and the examiner was blinded to the HUS findings. The abnormal HUS findings were classified as significant or non-significant according to the current literature.

Results: Abnormal HUS was found in 11.2% of the neonates. Significant findings were noted in 3.8% of the infants. There was no association between non-structural HUS findings (hemorrhage or echogenicity) and mode of delivery. There was no relationship between any HUS abnormality and birth weight, head circumference and maternal age, ethnicity, education or morbidity. The rate of abnormal neurological, hearing or vision evaluation in infants with a significant abnormal HUS (5.2%) was comparable to the rate in infants with normal or non-significant findings on HUS (3.1%).

Conclusions: There is no indication for routine HUS screening in apparently healthy term neonates due to the relatively low incidence of significant brain abnormalities in these infants in our population.


[1] HUS = head ultrasound

March 2009
A. Maayan-Metzger, A. Barzilai, N. Keller and J. Kuint

Background: Early-onset neonatal sepsis is a major cause of morbidity and mortality among newborn infants.

Objectives: To determine the incidence, type of pathogens and resistance to antibiotics among newborns with early-onset neonatal sepsis, and to identify the risk factors predisposing infants to resistant pathogens in order to reevaluate antibiotic regimens appropriate for resistant bacteria in these high risk neonates.

Methods: We retrospectively studied maternal and neonatal variables of 73 term and near-term infants and 30 preterm infants, born over a period of 10.5 years and exhibiting early-onset neonatal sepsis (positive blood cultures in the first 72 hours of life).

Results: Predominant pathogens in term and near-term infants were gram-positive compared with gram-negative organisms (mostly Escherichia coli) in preterm infants. Mothers of infants with antibiotic-resistant organisms were more likely to have prolonged rupture of membranes and prolonged hospitalization before delivery and to be treated with antibiotics. No trends towards more resistant strains of pathogens were recorded over the 10.5 years of the study period.

Conclusions: Early-onset neonatal sepsis in term infants differs in bacterial species from that in preterm infants, with predominantly gram-positive organisms in term and near-term infants and gram-negative organisms in preterms. Rates of bacterial resistance to the combination of ampicillin and gentamicin, though higher among infants born to mothers with prolonged hospitalization who had been treated with antibiotics, still remained very low in our department. Thus, it seems that our classic antibiotic regimen is still appropriate for both term and preterm newborns.

January 2006
D. Bader, A. Kugelman, D. E. Blum, A. Riskin, E. Tirosh

Background: Phototherapy is considered the standard of care for neonatal jaundice. However, its short term cardiorespiratory effects have not been studied thoroughly.

Objectives: To assess the cardiorespiratory effect of phototherapy during sleep in term infants with physiologic jaundice.

Methods: We performed two polysomnography studies during 3 hours sleep in 10 healthy term infants with physiologic jaundice; each infant served as his/her own control. The first study was performed just prior to phototherapy and the second study during phototherapy 24 hours later. Heart and respiratory rates, type and duration of apneas, and arterial oxygen saturation were analyzed during active and quiet sleep.

Results: Term infants (gestational age 38.6 ± 1.4 weeks, birth weight 3.2 ± 0.5 kg) underwent the two polysomnography studies within a short time interval and had a comparable bilrubin level (3.6 ± 0.8 and 4.5 ± 0.8 days; 14.5 ± 1.4 and 13.8 ± 2.1 mg/dl, P = NS, respectively). There was no difference in sleeping time or the fraction of active and quiet sleep before or during phototherapy. During active sleep under phototherapy there was a significant decrease in respiratory rate and increase in heart rate (54.3 ± 10.3 vs. 49.1 ± 10.8 breaths/minute, and 125.9 ± 11.7 vs. 129.7 ± 15.3 beats/minute, respectively, P < 0.05), as well as a decrease in respiratory effort in response to apnea. These effects were not found during quiet sleep. Phototherapy had no significant effect on oxygen saturation, apnea rate or periodic breathing in either sleep state. No clinical significant apnea or bradycardia occurred.

Conclusions: Phototherapy affected the cardiorespiratory activity during active sleep but not during quiet sleep in term infants with physiologic jaundice. These effects do not seem to have clinical significance in "real-life" conditions.

December 2003
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