We have investigated the relationship between erythropoietin (Epo) and pH, PaO2 and haematocrit in 100 cord blood samples obtained at Caesarean section prior to labour. Of 82 term (> 37 weeks) infants, 64 were appropriately grown (10th-90th centiles), and their mean cord serum Epo and cord blood Epo was 23 +/- 8 mU/ml (mean +/- SD). Strong inverse correlations were found between cord serum Epo and cord blood pH (r = -0.74; p <0.0001), and between cord serum Epo and cord blood PaO2 (r = -0.55; p <0.0001), but not between cord serum Epo and cord haematocrit (r = 0.02; p <0.9). For the 18 preterm babies (gestation 32.4 +/- 4.1 weeks, birth weight 1,820 +/- 476 g), the Epo level was 36 +/- 8 mU/ml, which was not significantly greater than for the term babies. Strong inverse correlations were again found between Epo and pH (r = -0.87; p <0.0001) and Epo and PaO2 (r = -0.69; p <0.002). Babies from complicated pregnancies (intra-uterine growth retardation, pre-eclampsia, antepartum haemorrhage, diabetes mellitus and fetal distress) tended to have higher Epo levels. Thirteen babies had Epo levels > 40 mU/ml, and 11 (85%) of these required neonatal intensive care. Cord serum Epo correlates better with oxygen tension and pH at birth than with fetal growth and haematocrit, which are measures of chronic stress to the fetus.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Biology of the neonate|
|Publication status||Published - 1993|