Edward F. Bell, MD

Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed 9/13/12

The following figures can be used to assess normal blood pressure in young premature infants. As a rough rule of thumb, the lower limit of normal mean blood pressure in mm Hg on the day of birth is approximately equal to the gestational age in weeks (Lee J et al, 1999). Hypotension should not usually be treated without other signs of insufficient cardiac output (e.g. poor skin perfusion, metabolic acidosis, anuria and so forth).

The figures below are the mean and 95% confidence limits for blood pressure during the first 12 hours after birth, (Versmold HT et al, 1981). 

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Systolic (a), diastolic (b), and mean (c) blood pressure of preterm infants on Day 1 of life by birth weight (a1, b1, c1) and gestational age (a2, b2, c2). The lines represent mean ± 2 SD (Pejovic B et al, 2007). 

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Mean blood pressure during the first week of life for very-low-birth-weight infants subdivided into four birth weight groups (Cunningham S et al, 1999). 

DIAGRAMS

References:

Cunningham S, Symon AG, Elton RA, Zhu C, McIntosh N. Intra-arterial blood pressure reference ranges, death and morbidity in very low birthweight infants during the first seven days of life. Early Hum Dev 1999;56:151-165.

Lee J, Rajadurai VS, Tan KW. Blood pressure standards for very low birthweight infants during the first day of life. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed 1999;81:F168-F170.

Pejovic B, Peco-Antic A, Marinkovic-Eric J. Blood pressure in non-critically ill preterm and full-term neonates. Pediatr Nephrol 2007;22:249-257.

Versmold HT, Kitterman JA, Phibbs RH, Gregory GA, Tooley WH. Aortic blood pressure during the first 12 hours of life in infants with birth weight 610 to 4,220 grams. Pediatrics 1981;67:607-613.