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Antibiotic may prove beneficial to preterm infant lung health
Date:4/25/2011

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 26, 2011) A study performed by University of Kentucky researchers shows promise for the use of azithromycin in treating Ureaplasma-colonized or infected premature infants to prevent bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD).

The study, published in Pediatric Pulmonology, showed subjects colonized or infected with the Ureaplasma bacteria developed BPD or died 73 percent of the time in the azithromycin-treated group, compared to 94 percent of the time in the placebo group.

Bronchopulmonary dysplasia is a chronic lung disorder characterized by inflammation and scarring in the lungs. It is common among premature infants, whose lungs are not fully developed before birth.

This disorder can lead to chronic lung damage or death. Many infants who survive are at a greater risk for having recurrent respiratory infections, such as pneumonia or bronchiolitis.

The presence of the Ureaplasma bacterium is a risk factor in developing BPD. This bacterium causes inflammation in the lungs and can also lead to meningitis, pneumonia or septicemia. It is passed on from mother to child. An estimated 80 percent of women are already colonized with it, and nearly 45 percent of extremely preterm infants are affected by it.

"Current preventative therapies for bronchopulmonary dysplasia are limited," said Dr. Hubert O. Ballard, the UK neonatologist leading the study. "Because the inflammation from a Ureaplasma infection often leads to BPD, and because this bacterium is so easily spread to infants from the mother, we sought to find out if the anti-inflammatory benefits of azithromycin could help prevent the disorder from developing."

The study was performed on a group of 220 infants admitted to the UK Neonatal Intensive Care Unit from September 2004 to August 2008. Enrollment criteria included a birth weight of less than 1,250 grams, the use of intermittent mechanical ventilation for fewer than 12 hours, and an age of under
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Contact: Allison Perry
allison.perry@uky.edu
859-257-1754 x225
University of Kentucky
Source:Eurekalert

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