OBJECTIVE: The primary aim of this study was to determine if an association exists between amino-acid levels and development of cholestasis. The secondary aim of our amino-acid dose comparison trial was to identify factors associated with the development of prolonged cholestatic jaundice.
STUDY DESIGN: We compared demographic characteristics and amino-acid levels in neonates who developed cholestasis with those who did not. Parenteral-associated cholestatic liver disease was defined as a direct serum bilirubin above 5 mg per 100 ml any time during the first 28 days after birth in neonates with no history of biliary atresia or viral hepatitis. We obtained filter paper blood spots for amino acid and acylcarnitine measurements on the day of randomization and days 7 and 28 of age to identify a profile of values that could be used to identify neonates with evidence of abnormal liver function.
RESULT: We enrolled 122 neonates in our study; 13 (10.7%) developed cholestasis. Neonates who developed cholestasis were more immature, had lower birth weight, were exposed to parenteral nutrition for a longer period, had a higher cumulative dose of amino acids, were less often on enteral nutrition by day 7 of age, more often had a patent ductus arteriosus and severe intraventricular hemorrhage and were more commonly treated with steroids by 28 days of age. Amino acid and acylcarnitine values were not different for the two groups on the day of randomization. On day 7 (parenteral phase of nutrition), blood urea nitrogen, citrulline, histidine, methionine and succinyl carnitine were higher, and serine, glutamate and thyroxine levels were lower in the neonates who developed cholestasis than in who did not.
CONCLUSION: Cholestasis remains an important complication of parenteral nutrition, and several clinical and biochemical factors may be helpful in identifying high-risk patients.
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