Purpose of review
The aim is to review normal blood neutrophil concentrations and the clinical approach to neutropenia in the neonatal period. A literature search on neonatal neutropenia was performed using the databases PubMed, EMBASE, and Scopus, and the electronic archive of abstracts presented at the annual meetings of the Pediatric Academic Societies.
The review summarizes current knowledge on the causes of neutropenia in premature and critically ill neonates, focusing on common causes such as maternal hypertension, neonatal sepsis, twin–twin transfusion, alloimmunization, and hemolytic disease. The article provides a rational approach to diagnosis and treatment of neonatal neutropenia, including current evidence on the role of recombinant hematopoietic growth factors.
Neutrophil counts should be carefully evaluated in premature and critically ill neonates. Although neutropenia is usually benign and runs a self-limited course in most neonates, it can be prolonged, and it constitutes a serious deficiency in antimicrobial defense in some infants.