University of Wisconsin–Madison Medical College of Wisconsin

Prevention of Neonatal Hypoglycemia With Oral Glucose Gel for High-Risk Newborns

Mark Deyo-Svendsen, MD; Sara Herrmann, MD; Christina Andrist, DO; Michael Phillips, MD; Matthew Cabrera Svendsen, MD; Rachel Oldfather

WMJ. 2021;120(1):51-53.

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Background: Neonatal hypoglycemia (glucose <47) is the most common metabolic problem in newborns (incidence 5% – 15%) and can cause adverse outcomes, even in the absence of noticeable symptoms. Oral glucose gel (OGG) is safe and effective for treatment of neonatal hypoglycemia. In order to reduce interventions such as intravenous (IV) dextrose administration and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) transfer, in October 2017, we implemented a protocol in our Level 1 rural community hospital to identify newborns with asymptomatic hypoglycemia based on risk factors and treat them with OGG. Risk factors include large or small size for gestational age, maternal gestational diabetes, preterm and late preterm birth, and newborns requiring resuscitation.

Methods: Chart review was performed for all infants born at our hospital from October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2018. Data for year 1—the period before protocol implementation (October 2016- September 2017)—was compared to post implementation data from year 2 (October 2017-September 2018).

Results: There was a significant risk reduction in newborns requiring interventions due to hypoglycemia after protocol implementation (P = 0.029, Student t test). In year one, 7 of 310 total newborns required IV dextrose or NICU transfer related to neonatal hypoglycemia. In year two, 108 out of 250 total newborns were tested for asymptomatic hypoglycemia based on risk factors identified in the protocol. Of those tested, 31 newborns demonstrated hypoglycemia and received OGG. None of the 250 newborns required further associated interventions.

Conclusion: Protocol-based hypoglycemia testing based on risk factors with subsequent OGG administration was effective in reducing the need for IV dextrose and NICU transfer from our Level 1 rural community hospital.

Author Affiliations: Department of Pediatrics, Mayo Clinic Health System – Northwest Wisconsin, Menomonie, Wis (Hermann, Andrist); Department of Family Medicine, Mayo Clinic Health System – Northwest Wisconsin, Menomonie, Wis (Phillips, Deyo-Svendsen); Department of Family Medicine, Mayo Clinic Health System – Southeast Minnesota, Austin, Minn (Svendsen), University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, Minn (Oldfather).
Corresponding Author: Mark Deyo-Svendsen, MD, Mayo Clinic Health System Red Cedar, 2321 Stout Rd, Menomonie, WI 54751; phone 715.235.9671; email
Acknowledgment: The authors wish to thank Tina Kippes, RN, Department of Nursing, Mayo Clinic Health System Northwest Wisconsin, for her work in compiling data for this project.
Funding/Support: None declared.
Financial Disclosures: None declared.
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