Medical Definition of Gray baby syndrome

Reviewed on 3/29/2021

Gray baby syndrome: A syndrome due to toxicity of the antibiotic chloramphenicol in the newborn, especially the premature newborn, because of lack the necessary liver enzymes to metabolize this drug. Chloramphenicol accumulates in the baby, causing hypotension (low blood pressure), cyanosis (blue coloring of lips, nail beds, and skin from lack of oxygen in the blood), and often death. Chloramphenicol is therefore usually not given to newborns or premature babies.

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