Late-Onset Sepsis in Very Low Birth Weight Infants

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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Late–onset sepsis is associated with significant morbidity and mortality among very low birth weight (VLBW) infants. Our objective was to determine risk factors associated with late-onset sepsis and to present temporal trends in overall and pathogen-specific rates. METHODS: Population-based study by the Israel Neonatal Network on VLBW infants (#1500 g) born between 1995 and 2019. Late-onset sepsis required clinical symptoms and microbiologic confirmation. Bivariate and multivariable analyses were performed to identify risk factors. The study period was divided into 4 epochs. Overall and pathogen-specific late-onset sepsis rates for each epoch were compared. RESULTS: The study population comprised 31 612 VLBW infants, of whom 7423 (23.5%) had late-onset sepsis. An increased adjusted risk of late-onset sepsis was associated with gestational age <27 w (odds ratio [OR] 8.90, 95% confidence interval [CI] 7.85–10.09) and delivery room resuscitation (OR 1.43, 95% CI 1.34–1.52) and a decreased adjusted risk among infants born between 2013 and 2019 (OR 0.32, 95% CI 0.29–0.35). Late-onset sepsis rates declined from 29.5% in 1995 to 2000 to 13.0% in 2013 to 2019. Gram-negative and fungal rates decreased in all epochs, whereas gram-positive rates decreased only in the last epoch. The adjusted hazard ratios (95% CI) decreased in the 2013 to 2019 versus 1995 to 2000 epochs and were: all late-onset sepsis, 0.40 (0.37–0.43); gram-positive, 0.47 (0.37–0.59); gram-negative, 0.54 (0.48–0.61); fungal, 0.17 (0.12–0.22). CONCLUSIONS: The strongest risk factor for late-onset sepsis was gestational age <27 w. Over a 25-year period, the pathogen-specific rates of late-onset sepsis among VLBW infants decreased approximately twofold for gram-positive and gram-negative bacterial infections and sixfold for fungal infections.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2023062223
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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