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Paediatrics and Child Health


Globally, approximately 14.6% children are born with low birth weight (LBW) annually. In Pakistan, this figure however reaches approximately 16%. Low birth weight infants are vulnerable to develop early morbidities like hypothermia, hypoglycemia, respiratory distress syndrome and hypocalcemia. There is a scarcity of statistics which creates a gap in development of strategies for improving quality of care in developing countries. The aim of our study was to determine the frequency of early morbidities such as respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), hypoglycemia, hypothermia and hypocalcemia in low birth weight neonates.
prospective descriptive study was conducted via non-probability sampling technique from 1st April 2016 to 30th September 2016 at The Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi. All low birth weight infants, i.e., those with birth weight < 2500 grams were included in this study and observed for early morbidities, including hypothermia, hypoglycemia, hypocalcemia and respiratory distress syndrome. Descriptive analysis was done using SPSS version 22 (IBM Corp., Armonk, NY), mean and standard deviation were determined for quantitative variables, whereas frequency and percentages were calculated for qualitative variables.

A total of 2082 neonates were born during the study period, of which 271 (13%) were born with low birth weight. One hundred and eighty-five (68.1%) of these LBW neonates were preterm babies while 86 (31.9%) were born at term. Among LBW neonates 137 (51.0%) were males and 134 (49.0%) females. In the study population, hypoglycemia was seen in 17.3%, hypocalcemia in 13.6%, respiratory distress syndrome in 11%, and hypothermia in 2.5%.
our study highlighted major early morbidities of LBW neonates, and their association with birth weight, gestational age and gender. Significant association of birth weight was found with hypothermia and hypocalcemia, whereas hypocalcemia and RDS were significantly associated with gestational age. However, none of the early morbidities had significant association with gender. Keeping in perspective the early morbidities in this population we propose that priority be given to providing adequate attention to low birth weight neonates.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License

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