European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 148, Issue 5, pp 455–458 | Cite as

Low antithrombin III: accurate predictor of idiopathic respiratory distress syndrome in premature neonates

  • W. van den Berg
  • C. Breederveld
  • J. W. ten Cate
  • M. Peters
  • J. J. J. Borm


A prospective study was performed in premature neonates to determine the predictive values of antithrombin III (AT III) deficiency immediately after birth, for the subsequent development of idiopathic respiratory distress syndrome (IRDS), intraventricular haemorrhage (IVH) and death. Of the 81 premature infants studied, 24 developed IRDS (30%). Of these 24 premature infants, 8 also developed IVH and 9 infants died within the follow-up period of 7 days. The mean plasma AT III level was significantly lower in the infants developing IRDS (0.23 U/ml vs 0.35 U/ml,P<0.0005). Within this study group 33 neonates of less than 30 weeks' gestation showed a prevalence for IRDS of 48%. In this group, AT III activity levels below 0.30 U/ml were 8.5 times as likely to result from infants with IRDS than from infants without IRDS. The diagnostic accuracy indices of criteria for the development of IRDS were: a sensitivity of 100%, a specificity of 88%, a positive predictive value of 89% and a negative predictive value of 100%. The predictive values for the development of IVH and occurrence of death were insignificant. Therefore, in premature neonates the combination of less than 30 weeks' gestation and an AT III below 0.30 U/ml is highly suggestive of IRDS and may facilitate the evaluation of early treatment.

Key words

Antithrombin III Disseminated intravascular coagulation Respiratory distress syndrome-intensive care units Neonatal 



antithrombin III


disseminated intravascular coagulation


idiopathic respiratory distress syndrome


intraventricular haemorrhage


negative predictive value


positive predictive value


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. van den Berg
    • 1
  • C. Breederveld
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. W. ten Cate
    • 1
  • M. Peters
    • 2
  • J. J. J. Borm
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Haemostasis and ThrombosisAcademic Medical Centre, University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of PaediatricsAcademic Medical Centre, University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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