COMPARISON OF SERUM CALCIUM LEVELS AMONG EXTREMELY PRETERM AND SEVERLY PRETERM NEONATES AT A PERIPHERAL MILITARY HOSPITAL
Objective: To determine the frequency and compare serum calcium levels amongst extremely preterm and very preterm neonates.
Study Design: Comparative cross sectional study.
Place and Duration of Study: Combined Military Hospital, Multan Pakistan, from May to Oct 2018.
Methodology: A total of 217 preterm neonates, born at Combined Military Hospital Multan up to the gestational age of 32 weeks completed from last menstrual period, were included in the study. They were divided in to two group’s i.e. very preterm and extremely preterm neonates. Those born between 28-32 weeks completed of gestation were categorized as severely preterm. Extremely preterm were those born between 24-28 weeks completed of gestation. Venous blood samples were acquired at approximately 36 hours after birth and total serum calcium levels were analyzed. Neonates having total serum calcium levels <7 mg/dL were declared as suffering from hypocalcaemia.
Results: Out of 217 neonates, 117 (53.9%) were male while 100 (46.1%) were female. Mean gestational age was 30.98 ± 2.12 weeks while mean parity of the mothers was 2.82 ± 1.08 children. Mean birth weight was 1510.26 ± 142.38 grams. One hundred and seventeen (53.9%) of the preterm neonates suffered from hypocalcaemia with the mean total serum calcium level being 6.58 ± 0.86 mg/dL. Hypocalcaemia was more common in extremely preterm neonates compared to very preterm neonates (p<0.05).
Conclusion: Hypocalcaemia is a frequent complication encountered in preterm neonates born between 24-32 weeks gestation. Within these neonates, the frequency of hypocalcaemia is higher in extremely preterm compared to severely preterm babies.