-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, Nov. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Infants with Down syndrome
who weigh less than 3.5 pounds at birth are at high risk for heart
and lung disorders that increase their chances of dying, a new
study has found.
U.S. researchers analyzed the medical records of more than
50,000 very low birth weight (VLBW) infants who weighed between
0.875 pounds and 3.5 pounds at birth. They found that among this
group of babies, those born with Down syndrome were about 2.5 times
more likely to die during infancy than the other VLBW babies.
This increased risk of death was due in part to their higher
rates of heart, lung and digestive tract disorders, and
life-threatening blood infections, the study authors noted.
However, the researchers also found that Down syndrome infants
were less likely than other VLBW infants to develop retinopathy of
prematurity, a vision problem caused by overgrowth of blood vessels
in the retina.
The study findings, published online Nov. 22 in the journal
Pediatrics, may help guide the care and treatment of VLBW Down syndrome infants, the authors suggested.
"Previously, health professionals caring for very low birth weight Down syndrome infants had to base treatment decisions on studies of the general population of very low birth weight infants and on studies of infants with Down syndrome who may not have been of low birth weight," senior author Dr. Rosemary D. Higgins, of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, said in a U.S. National Institutes of Health news release.
"Our study provides much needed information for practitioners and families making treatment decisions for this unique group of patients," she added.
The March of Dimes has more about
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