This study was performed to investigate lead levels in neonates born to the mothers suffering from opiate use disorder (OUD) and the association of lead levels with the Apgar score.
The present cross-sectional study included 56 neonates who were referred to the neonatal ward of Amir-Al Momenin Hospital, Zabol. The neonates were divided into two groups: the neonates whose mothers suffered OUD and the control group. Data were collected using a researcher-prepared questionnaire, and blood lead level was determined using the atomic absorption method. Data were statistically analyzed.
In all, 56 neonates (28 from OUD mothers and 28 from the control mothers) were included in this study. Among the women with OUD, 16 (57%) used inhaled opium, while 12 (43%) consumed opium orally. There was a significant difference regarding Apgar score (9.76 ± 2.11 versus. 7.11 ± 4.21; p = 0.02) and the neonate’s blood lead level (2.33 ± 1.3 µg/dl versus 7.33 ± 5.9 µg/dl) between the control and OUD groups (p < 0.001). The odds ratio of abnormally elevated blood lead level rose with increasing duration of maternal opiate disorder for opiate usage durations of 3 to 5 years (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 42.82, 95% confidence interval [CI] 3.27–561, p = 0.004) and > 5 years (adjusted OR 45.5, 95% CI 2.97–698, p = 0.006).
The results of this study suggested a significant relationship between maternal opium consumption during pregnancy and neonatal serum lead levels, as well as decreased neonatal Apgar score.