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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 7  |  Page : 997-1003

Umbilical cord serum zinc in neonates delivered at the university of Nigeria teaching hospital, Enugu: Variation with gestational age

1 Department of Paediatrics, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital/University of Nigeria, Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria
2 Department of Paediatrics, Enugu State University Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. K K Iloh
Department of Paediatrics, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital/University of Nigeria, Enugu, Enugu State
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/njcp.njcp_16_22

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Background: Zinc is particularly involved in cellular growth, neurodevelopment, and immune function, which is critical for child survival. To reduce neonatal mortality in developing countries, cost-effective and evidence-based interventions that can enhance growth, development, and immunity, need to be considered. Determining the zinc levels of neonates and how it relates to both gestational age is therefore imperative. Subjects and Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, aimed at determining the umbilical cord serum zinc levels among neonates and their relationship with their gestational age. Two hundred and seventy-five neonates of gestational ages 28 to 42 weeks were enrolled in the study. Serum zinc levels were determined using the flame atomic absorption spectrophotometer (AAS model no. FS 240 AA.USA, Agilent Technology Ltd.). Results: Among the 275 neonates, there were 27 (9.82%), 28 (10.18%), and 220 (80%) preterms, moderate-to-late preterms, and term neonates, respectively. The mean serum zinc level of all neonates was 87 ± 16.07 μg/dL and within the normal limit of serum zinc. Their mean serum zinc level increased with increasing gestational age (F = 90.424, P < 0.001). Very preterm and moderate-to-late preterm neonates had mean serum zinc levels of 65.13 μg/dL ± 6.15 and 69.85 μg/dL ± 9.63 μg/dL, respectively. Conclusion: This study revealed that though the overall mean serum zinc of neonates was normal, preterms (especially those of lower gestational ages) were zinc deficient. Routine zinc supplementation at birth should be considered in preterm neonates to reduce the untoward effects of zinc deficiency.

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