Comparison of plasma electrolytes of perinatally asphyxiated and normal term babies

Odo K.E. , Odetunde O.I., Chinawa J.M., Okafor H.U., Aronu A.E. | , Adimora G.N. | JNPM 2020;

The objective of this study is to document and compare plasma electrolytes of asphyxiated newborns of different degree within 48 hours of life.
STUDY DESIGN: A comparative cross-sectional study was conducted in the newborn special care unit at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Enugu, South-East Nigeria. Sodium, potassium, bicarbonate and ionized calcium levels were estimated in the plasma samples of neonates with perinatal asphyxia of different degree and healthy newborns (control group) within 48 hours of birth.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The plasma sodium, potassium, bicarbonate and ionized calcium levels were estimated in both, the study subjects and controls.
RESULTS: Mean plasma sodium level was significantly lower (134.93±5.24 mmol/l vs 141.90±3.36 mmol/l; P < 0.05), mean plasma bicarbonate level was significantly lower (16.98±3.99 mmol/l vs 18.54±2.36 mmol/l; P < 0.05), and mean plasma ionized calcium level was significantly lower (1.10±0.14 mmol/l vs 1.25 0.11 mmol/l; P < 0.05) in subjects compared to controls while mean plasma potassium was significantly higher (5.07±0.93 mmol/l vs 4.65±0.51 mmol/l P < 0.05) in subjects compare to controls.
CONCLUSION: The tendency to have hyponatremia, hyperkalemia, acidosis and hypocalcemia is very high among the study subjects which underscores the need for great vigilance in electrolyte monitoring when managing an asphyxiated baby.

*Corresponding Author: 

O.I. Odetunde, MD, Department of Pediatrics, Pediatric Nephrology Unit, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, PMB 01129, Enugu 400001, Nigeria. E-mail: