Anemia is associated with neurodevelopmental delays and brain injury in infants and toddlers, but whether early anemia has a similar effect in neonatal preterm infants is largely unknown. Thus, this study aimed to determine the relationship of early anemia with neurodevelopment and brain injury in very-low-birth-weight (VLBW) preterm infants within the neonatal period. A prospective cohort study including 110 VLBW preterm infants was conducted in Southern China from 2016 to 2018. All participants were followed from birth to 1 month corrected age. Early anemia is defined as hemoglobin of ≤145 g/L within the first week after birth. The non-anemic group (control group, N = 55) was 1:1 matched with the early anemia group (N = 55) according to birth weight and gestational age. Neurodevelopment at 1 month corrected age and brain injury within 1 month corrected age were measured by neonatal behavioral neurological assessments (NBNA) and cranial ultrasound, respectively. Compared to the control group, the early anemia group had a lower score in behavioral ability in the NBNA test [11 (10-12) vs. 10 (9.5-11), p = 0.033]. Early anemia was negatively associated with the NBNA total score (β= -0.680, 95% CI: -1.300, -0.059), especially with the behavioral ability score (β= -0.504, 95% CI: -0.941, -0.067) after adjusting for the confounders. However, no association between early anemia and brain injury was observed. In conclusion, in VLBW preterm infants, early anemia is negatively correlated with neurodevelopment, especially with behavioral ability.
- Infant, Newborn
- Prospective Studies
- Infant, Premature
- Infant, Very Low Birth Weight
- Brain Injuries