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South African Journal of Child Health

On-line version ISSN 1999-7671
Print version ISSN 1994-3032


VAN WYK, L; SMITH, J  and  HALL, M. Neonatal hypotension survey: A South African perspective. S. Afr. j. child health [online]. 2019, vol.13, n.2, pp.73-77. ISSN 1999-7671.

BACKGROUND. Neonatal hypotension remains one of the most controversial topics in neonatology. Various definitions are used but lack an evidence base. Owing to the variation in defining a low blood pressure (BP), significant differences in pharmacological manipulation of BP are evident. OBJECTIVES. The aim of the present research was to determine (1) the diagnostic criteria for neonatal hypotension and (2) management strategies for neonatal hypotension in South Africa. Methods. A 29-point questionnaire was designed to determine the criteria used by South African neonatologists and paediatricians to diagnose and manage neonatal hypotension. The survey was conducted at two different time points in 2017. RESULTS. The combination of the two surveys resulted in a 9.3% (47/507) response rate. A BP below the gestational age (in weeks) was the most common definition used for neonatal hypotension (75%). Most clinicians (86%) administered fluid prior to initiating inotrope therapy. Dopamine, dobutamine and adrenaline were the most common first-, second- and third-line anti-hypotensive drugs used. Most clinicians (77%) did not use a hypotension management guideline. CONCLUSION. Neonatal hypotension definition and management in South Africa are similar to international patterns, despite a lack of evidence to support the diagnosis and management strategies.

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