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November 16, 2004

Hypoglycemia, Other

Question from Yucaipa, California, USA:

My son is currently two months old. He was born with several problems, including congenitive heart disease. At birth, his blood sugar was 15 mg/dl [0.8 mmol/L]. I understand that this number is extremely low. The doctors were able to bring him to a normal level immediately. My question concerns long term effects of this low of a blood sugar at such a critical time. Could there be brain damage or problems of this nature that might not be detectable until later?

Answer:

A transient episode of neonatal hypoglycemia does not usually produce problems acutely or long term. You should discuss this directly with your pediatrician or family doctor since they will be able to tell you how long the problem existed, how it responded to either feeding or glucose and what the likely cause was. Newborns can have transient and severe hypoglycemia for many causes, even nonspecific ones like cardiac stress, low oxygen levels, respiratory problems, infection. Infants of diabetics often have hypoglycemia as do premature infants and even undergrown babies (SGA-Small for Gestational Age).

SB