Long-term outcomes of saline boluses in very preterm infants

Aslam, A.*, Vincer, M. , Allen, A. , Imanullah, S., O’Connell, C.M. | JNPM 2018;

BACKGROUND: Normal saline bolus is commonly used in clinical practice for treating hypotension in very preterm infants during resuscitation at an early age despite the paucity of high-quality evidence supporting this practice.
OBJECTIVES: To determine the effects of early (<7 days after birth) saline boluses given to very preterm infant (VPI) from 23 to 31 weeks GA.
METHOD: This is a population-based cohort analysis of the use of normal saline boluses given to VPI. The outcomes were extracted from the Perinatal Follow-Up Program Database which included all VPI from Halifax County admitted to the NICU at the IWK Health Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada between January 2006 to December 2010. We excluded infants with major congenital anomalies and those not offered resuscitation in the delivery room. Our primary outcome was the composite of death or disability by 18–36 months while secondary outcomes were neonatal death, BPD, CP, IVH, PVL, ROP, BSITD III (Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development® , Third Edition) Cognitive, Motor and Language score.
RESULTS: Death or disability in those who received saline bolus occurred in 15 (53.6%) compared with 9 (32.1%) in non saline group. Significantly higher rates of CP (p = 0.04), lower scores on the BSITDIII for motor (p = 0.04) and language scales (p = 0.03) were noted for infants who received saline boluses. Cognitive scores approached significance (p = 0.05) with lower scores in the saline bolus group.
CONCLUSION: Significant differences were found between the two groups in terms of long term neurodevelopmental outcome and one of the short-term outcome (i.e. BPD). Given the limitations of this retrospective study and the small sample size, a larger cohort from Canadian Neonatal Network database is warranted to evaluate the effects of using normal saline boluses during early life on neurodevelopmental.

*Corresponding Author: 

Ameer Aslam, Department of Pediatrics, Dalhousie Univesity/IWK Health Center, 5980 University Ave, Halifax NS Canada B3N 6R. Tel.: +1 9024414065; E-mail: ameer.aslam@dal.ca.