NEONATAL PROBLEMS Flashcards Preview


Flashcards in NEONATAL PROBLEMS Deck (51):

A baby is born at 39 weeks weighing 35kg. At 10 days the weight of the baby is still 35 kg. Should the doctor be worried?

No. All babies lose weight in the first week and full term babies should regain their birth weight by day 7-10. Pre-term babies should regain their birth weight by day 14.


What is the best way to have a baby latched on for breast feeding?

Chin forward and head tilted back
The areola should be in the babies mouth


What are the problems that a mother may face with regard to breast feeding?

Cracked nipples - related to problems with latching

Breast engorgement - full breasts. Can be alleviated by expression.


A new mother presents to the GP on day 5 of her baby's life worried that her baby is having loose stools. Should the doctor be worried?

No. This is called intestinal hurry and is common on day 4 or 5 when the supply of milk is plentiful. It is normal.


What are the problems that can arise from only bottle feeding a baby?

Incorrect reconstitution - electrolyte abnormalities

Inadequate sterilization - gastroenteritis

Allergy to cow's milk protein in formula


What are the causes of neonatal vomiting? Try to separate them out using the surgical sieve.

Intestinal obstruction:
- Duodenal atresia/stenosis
- Malrotation with volvulus
- Meconium ileus (cystic fibrosis)
- Hirschsprung's disease
- Rectal atresia

Tracheo-oesaphageal fistula (associated with frothy mucoid vomit)

- Gastroenteritis
- Septicaemia
- Meningitis

Necrotizing enterocolitis (most often seen in preterms)

Raised intracranial pressure (bulging fontanelle)

Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (ambiguous genitalia in female infant)


What would bile stained vomit in a newborn indicate?

Intestinal obstruction of some kind


What might blood stained vomit in a newborn indicate?

Swallowed maternal blood

Trauma from a feeding tube

Haemorrhagic disease of the newborn

Vitamin K deficiency


A baby is seen the morning after her birth late last night for her baby check. She is noticed to be slightly jaundiced. Should the doctor worry?

Yes. Jaundice within the first 24 hours of life is always pathological.


What are the causes of jaundice in the first 24 hours of life?

Excess haemolysis:
- Immune mediated - Rh or ABO incompatibility
- Intrinsic red blood cell defects - G6PD, pyruvate kinase deficiency or hereditary spherocytosis

Congenital infections


What are the causes of jaundice between 24 hours and 2 weeks of life?

Physiological jaundice

Breast milk jaundice

Infection (esp UTI)

Excess haemolysis
- Bruising
- Polycythaemia
- Immune mediated
- Red blood cell defects


What are the causes of persistent unconjugated jaundice after 2 weeks of life?

Breast milk jaundice

Infections (esp UTI)

Excess haemolysis:
- Bruising
- Polycythaemia
- Immune mediated
- Red blood cell defects




What are the causes of persistent conjugated jaundice after 2 weeks of life?

Biliary atresia

Neonatal hepatitis


What is physiological jaundice?

Jaundice caused by a combination of increased red cell breakdown (normal red blood life span is 70 days as opposed to 120 in adults) and immature hepatic enzymes.


What investigations might you do in a baby that presents with prolonged (more than 2 weeks old) jaundice?

Measurement of conjugated fraction


Blood group - mother and baby

Direct antiglobulin test (DAT)

Urine culture

Thyroid function


Which type of hyperbilirubinaemia is associated with dark urine and pale stool?

Conjugated - think biliary atresia or neonatal hepatitis


What is the major complication of jaundice in neonates?

Kernicterus - unconjugated bilirubin deposited in the brain before the development of the blood-brain barrier.


Where in the brain is most of the bilirubin deposited in kernicterus?

Basal ganglia


What are the clinical features of kernicterus?

- Lethargy
- Rigidity
- Eye rolling
- Seizures

Long term:
- Choreoathetoid cerebral palsy
- Sensorineural deafness
- Learning difficulties


Other than high levels of bilirubin, what other factors increase the likelihood of a neonate developing kernicterus?

Infants gestational age: risk increases for preterm infants

Postnatal age: rick decreases with increasing postnatal age

Serum albumin: risk increases with hypoalbuminaemia

Coexistent asphyxia, acidosis or hypoglycaemia


What is used to determine the bilirubin levels at which treatment should be initiated?

Consensus charts that take all the other risk factors into account


What are the treatment options for a neonate with hyperbilirubinaemia?


Exchange transfusion


What is the phototherapy used in the treatment of neonatal jaundice, where levels start to threaten kernicterus?

Blue light of wavelength 450nm (not UV) converts bilirubin in the skin and superficial capillaries into harmless water soluble metabolites. Eyes need to be covered and additional fluids are given.


When would a neonate with hyperbilirubinaemia be treated with exchange transfusion as opposed to phototherapy?

If the bilirubin rises to levels considered dangerous despite phototherapy. Exchange is usually done via umbilical artery and vein catheters.


A mother brings in her 1 week old baby who is jaundiced. Blood tests reveal that her unconjugated bilirubin levels are at 800 micromols/L. Should the doctor be worried?

Yes. Despite the fact that this baby falls into the window when physiological jaundice is the most likely explanation for hyperbilirubinaemia, her levels of bilirubin are far too high for physiological jaundice and this baby needs treatment immediately to avoid complications. Physiological jaundice rarely leads to bilirubin levels above 350 micromols/L.


What are the signs of respiratory distress in a neonate?

Resp rate above 60
Subcostal or intercostal recession
Nasal flaring
Expiratory grunting


What is neonatal respiratory distress syndrome?

A disease seen mostly in preterm babies who have a deficiency of surfactant.


What are the treatment options for a baby born with respiratory distress syndrome?

Oxygen via a ventilator
Artificial surfactant


What is transient tachypnoea of the newborn?

A benign self-limiting condition believed to be caused by a delay in the normal reabsorption of lung fluid at birth. Usually resolves within 48 hours


What are the risk factors for transient tachypnoea of the newborn?

Caesarian section
Diabetic mothers


What will the X-ray of a baby with transient tachypnoea of the newborn show?

Streaky appearance with fluid in the horizontal fissure


Is meconium aspiration more common in term or preterm babies?

Term babies as preterm babies are unlikely to have passed meconium.


What proportion of term babies will have passed meconium before birth?



What increases the risk of meconium aspiration?

Fetal distress eg hypoxic insult


What are the possible complications of meconium aspiration?

Bronchial obstruction and collapse
Chemical pneumonitis
Secondary infection
Pulmonary hypertension


How is meconium aspiration treated?

Suction as soon as the head is delivered
Neonatal intubation for suction



What are the risk factors for pneumonia in neonates?

Prolonged rupture of membrane (over 24 hours)
Group B streptoccocal infection


What is persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn?

This is when pulmonary vascular resistance remains high after birth causing a right to left shunt at both atrial and ductal levels. There is therefore a severe cyanosis.


What are the causes of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn?

Can be primary disorder, but more commonly a complication of:

Perinatal asphyxia
Meconium aspiration
Severe sepsis
Respiratory distress syndrome


How do you make a diagnosis of persistent pulmonary hypertension?

Suggested by differences in PaO2 on pre and post-ductal arterial blood gases (ABGs) and confirmed by echocardiography.


What is a diaphragmatic hernia?

A hole in the diaphragm allows the abdominal contents to herniate into the chest causing a restriction to breathing.


Which side are diaphragmatic hernias usually found on?

The left


How are most cases of diaphragmatic hernia diagnosed?

Ultrasound before birth


How do we treat diaphragmatic hernia?

Early intubation and nasogastric aspiration (to avoid inflation of the bowel)
Surgical repair is then undertaken


If diaphragmatic hernia were not picked up pre-natally, what signs might indicate that it was this that was causing respiratory failure in a newborn?

Displaced apex beat to the right
Poor air entry on the left


What are the complications of diaphragmatic hernia?

Pulmonary hypoplasia


What is chylothorax?

A rare cause of respiratory distress, due to accumulation of lymphatic fluid in the pleural cavity. Can be spontaneous (due to anomaly of lymphatic drainage) or iatrogenic from birth trauma or thoracotomy.


What is the differential diagnosis for a neonate with breathing difficulties?

Transient tachypnoea of the newborn
Newborn respiratory distress syndrome (surfactant deficiency)
Meconium aspiration
Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn
Diaphragmatic hernia
Congenital malformation of the lung


What are the alternative names for the neonatal blood spot screening?

Guthrie test

Heel prick test


At how many days of life is the neonatal blood spot screening test performed?

5-9 days


What are the 9 conditions screened for in the neonatal blood spot screening test?

Congenital hypothyroidism

Cystic fibrosis

Sickle cell disease

Phenylketonuria (PKU)

Medium chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (MCADD)

Maple syrup urine disease (MSUD)

Isovaleric acidaemia (IVA)

Glutaric aciduria type 1 (GA1)

Homocystinuria (pyridoxine unresponsive) (HCU)