Intravenous Gammaglobulin Replacement for Prophylaxis of Infection in Preterm Neonates
Despite the improvements made in medical care in recent years, infection remains a major problem in newborn infants, because rapid diagnosis is difficult and therapy is not always effective (Eisenfeld et al. 1983). Preterm infants with gestational age ≤ 34 weeks and birth weight ≤ 1500 g are particularly at risk: the incidence of systemic infection in these infants, in fact, is about 32%, with a mortality rate of 11% (Usher 1981). The high susceptibility to infections is mainly due to the neonatal impairment of host defenses; both the aspecific and antigen-specific components of the immune system are deficient in the preterm neonate. The antibody deficiency is one of the most important contributory factors in the neonate’s high susceptibility to infections: levels of IgG, all acquired via transplacental passage from the mother, are, in fact, definitely low and often similar to those found in patients with congenital agammaglobulinemia. This is because the transplacental passage occurs almost exclusively during the last 6 weeks of gestation (Hobbs and Yeung 1968; Pilgrim et al. 1975).
KeywordsNecrotizing Enterocolitis Preterm Neonate Control Infant Transplacental Passage Opsonic Activity
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