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Slovenska pediatrija 2011; 18: 89-101


Review article

NURSING CARE OF THE PRETERM INFANT WITH BIRTH WEIGHT LESS THAN 1000 GRAMS

O. Kozamurnik
Enota za intenzivno nego in terapijo novorojenčkov, Klinični oddelek za perinatologijo, Ginekološka klinika, Univerzitetni klinični center Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenija

N. Novak
Enota za intenzivno nego in terapijo novorojenčkov, Klinični oddelek za perinatologijo, Ginekološka klinika, Univerzitetni klinični center Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenija

Abstract

Premature birth deprives the infant of anatomical and physiological development in the uterus and the preparation for life outside of it. Therefore, the risk of various medical and developmental problems is increased. Complications after birth are significantly increased in the premature infant born with a low birth weight and, particularly, in cases of extremely low birth weight (ELBW). In general, the lower the birth weight the higher the risk of complications. Clinical problems associated with ELBW are: birth asphyxia, breathing problems, hypothermia, hypoglycaemia, fluid and electrolyte imbalance, hyperbilirubinaemia, anaemia, feeding difficulties and slow weight gain, infections, neurological problems, ophthalmic complications, hearing difficulties and increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome. Due to the increased risk of many complications, the infant, who is born extremely premature, requires a precise approach and attention at all levels of health care. The task of healthcare staff in neonatal intensive care units (NICU) is to identify and monitor the needs of extremely low birth weight infants and to give appropriate support until they reach functional maturity. Nursing care, as an important part of the health care system in every society, has an important role in the process of caring for extremely low birth weight infants.

Key words: extremely low birth weight, preterm infant, neonatal nursing care.


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