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Identifying Preterm Infants At Risk Of Life-Threatening Conditions

July 2, 2010

Infants born prematurely are highly susceptible to life-threatening conditions that are clinically difficult to detect. These include late-onset septicemia, a condition in which infectious microbes are present in the blood, and necrotizing enterocolitis, a condition in which portions of the intestines die. But now, Terrence Poon and colleagues, at the The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, have identified in the blood biomarkers of these devastating conditions. Importantly, the biomakers discovered in the initial analysis were validated in a prospective cohort study. Although the biomarkers need to be confirmed in further multicenter trials, the authors hope that their use will help diagnose preterm infants with these devastating conditions, thereby identifying those who require urgent treatment.

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