BACKGROUND: Preterm infants requiring surgery are at risk of impaired neurocognitive development caused, possibly, by cerebral ischemia associated with impaired cerebrovascular autoregulation (CAR). We evaluated CAR before, during, and after laparotomy.
STUDY DESIGN: This was a hypothesis generating prospective observational cohort study.
SUBJECTS: We included preterm infants requiring surgery for necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) or spontaneous intestinal perforation (SIP). Before, during, and after surgery we measured cerebral oxygen saturation using NIRS and calculated cerebral fractional tissue oxygen extraction (cFTOE).
OUTCOME MEASURES: Impaired CAR was defined if correlation coefficients (rho) between mean cFTOE and mean arterial blood pressure values were ≤-0.30 with P < .05. We used logistic regression analyses to determine factors associated with impaired CAR.
RESULTS: Nineteen infants with median (IQR) GA 27.6 weeks (26.6-31.0), birth weight 1090 g (924-1430), and postnatal age 9 days (7-12) were included. CAR was impaired more often during surgery than before (12 versus 3, P = .02) or after (12 versus 0, P < .01). A higher PCO2level was associated with impaired CAR during surgery (OR 3.04, 95% CI, 1.11-8.12 for every 1 kPa increase).
CONCLUSIONS: More than half of preterm infants with NEC or SIP displayed evidence of impaired CAR during laparotomy. Further research should focus on mechanisms contributing to impaired CAR in preterm infants during surgery.