Fluid and electrolyte balance in extremely preterm infants <24 weeks of gestation in the first week of life

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Extremely preterm infants, especially those <24 weeks of gestation, displayed extremes in changes of fluid/electrolyte balance. The purpose of the present study was to retrospectively investigate abnormalities in fluid/electrolyte balance during the first postnatal week.


Of 32 subjects admitted during 20 years, 17 infants with no severe complications were examined, and 72 appropriate-for-dates infants at 24–28 weeks of gestation were taken as controls. The subjects were managed in closed incubators in a highly humidified environment and fluid/electrolyte balances were monitored in retrospect.


The subjects had higher urine contents, while the insensible water loss was higher than in controls. As for weight loss, no remarkable changes were noted between the two groups. On day 4 and thereafter, serum Na+ levels were high, indicating a high complication rate of hypernatremia without differences in hyperkalemia. The decrease in blood base excess was rapid, requiring supplementation of sodium bicarbonate up to postnatal day 5 in all preterm infants.


Due to the relatively higher urine output and insensible water loss in extremely preterm infants during postnatal week 1, higher water intake was required. As such, metabolic acidosis was bound to have occurred.

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