Researchers have found a new method for detecting early bacterial infection in preterm babies

Researchers have found a new method for detecting early bacterial infection in preterm babies

A new study has found a way to diagnose early bacterial infection in preterm babies. Read on to know more about the ways to care for preterm babies

In a news that was nothing short of a miracle, a Chhattisgarh woman gave birth to quintuplets all in 30 minutes! But the actual news revealed by the doctors was that all the five girls were preterm babies born in their 26th week.

Incidentally, most preterm babies are kept under close observation since they can be prone to various bacterial infections. In fact, low birth weight can also lead to the following problems in preterm babies:

  • Breathing problems since the lungs are underdeveloped
  • Heart problems, the most common among them being patent ductus arteriosus (PDA- a persistent opening between two major blood vessels leading from the heart) and low blood pressure (hypotension).
  • Brain damage, which includes the risk of bleeding in the brain, commonly known as an intraventricular hemorrhage.
  • Blood issues such as anemia and infant jaundice are also common among preterm babies
  • Weak immune system that can lead to severe complications

But a new study is now changing the way infections (especially bacterial) can be treated in preterm babies.

What the study says

In a recent study by the Kobe University in Japan, researchers have found a way of early diagnosis and improved prognosis of bacterial infections in preterm babies.

The study was published in Scientific Reports journal, where the researchers wanted to understand the signs of bacterial infection visible in adults and other infants: fever, white blood cell count, and increase in C-reactive protein (CRP). Here's how they found this new diagnosis technique:

  • They used a marker used for early detection of bacterial infection in adults and children to detect and monitor serum concentrations of procalcitonin (PCT) - this shows bacterial origin
  • The PCT levels in full-term infants rose temporarily one day after birth, returning to the normal level for adults within five days. However, for preterm infants, it took nine days after birth for PCT to return to their normal levels.

For the purpose of this study, the researchers observed 1,267 serums from 283 newborns at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in Kobe University Hospital, Japan.

Marioka Ichiro, who is lead author of the study released a statement wherein he mentioned, “We could also potentially use this method to limit unnecessary use of antibacterial agents.”

Caring for preterm babies

The birth of a preterm babies calls for special care starting from the NICU. If your baby has been discharged from the hospital, there are certain steps you can take care of your preterm baby. Mayo Clinic lists a few ways:

  • Find out about your baby's medical condition
  • Share your observations with a doctor
  • Start breastfeeding and take help from a lactation expert or a midwife to understand latching process of a preterm baby
  • Make sure to spend ample time with your baby and give him physical support

Read: Poor dental care during pregnancy may lead to preterm babies

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(Image courtesy: Allinallnews)

Written by

Deepshikha Punj

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