Care of the Surgical Neonate


For the surgeon, the care of a surgical neonate can be both exciting and challenging. Technological advances are helping to improve the survival rates of the extremely premature, enabling us to participate in the surgical management of patients with very immature and unique physiology. While entire textbooks can be written on the subject, we have chosen to focus on a variety of specific neonatal issues that may affect the surgical neonate and which ultimately could influence our management priorities and outcomes.

What is a premature, term and postmature neonate?

A premature infant is defined as a baby born before completing 37 weeks gestation. A term infant is defined as a baby born after completing 37 weeks gestation. A postmature infant is one who has completed more than 42 weeks gestation [1][2].

What is a small for gestational age infant?

A baby is designated to be small for gestational age (SGA) if he or she is under the tenth percentile for weight for gestational age [1].

What differentiates a very low from an extremely low birth weight infants?

The normal birth weight for a term infant is defined as 2500 grams. Low birth weight (LBW) is defined as an infant weighing between 1500 and 2500 grams. An infant is designated as very low birth weight (VLBW) if he or she is between 1000 and 1500 grams. Extremely low birth weight (ELBW) is defined as a birth weight less than 1000 grams [1].

What is intrauterine growth retardation?

Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) is used to designate fetuses that are very small for gestation age. IUGR can reflect inadequate delivery of oxygen and nutrients to meet the metabolic needs of the growing fetus. IUGR can be an indication to effect preterm delivery [1]. (see Pathophysiology)

content in this topic referenced in SCORE Neonatal Physiology and Pathophysiology: Transition from Fetal Circulation, Cardiovascular Monitoring, and Shock overview

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Last updated: November 2, 2020