Sepsis in the very low-birth-weight newborn infant.

A Costa, H Guimarães, A Souto, A Martins, C d'Orey, M Mateus, G Silva, N T Santos


Sepsis is a common pathology during the neonatal period. Low-birth weight is the most important isolated risk factor. With the purpose of determining the prevalence of nosocomial infection in newborns of very low birth weight (VLBW), finding the microbial flora and the mortality of these patients, the authors retrospectively analysed the clinical processes of the hospitalized VLBW in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in S. João Hospital in 1993 and 1994. Of the 1091 newborns admitted to the hospital in these two years, 112 were VLBW (10%). Of these, 48 had sepsis-31 (28%) confirmed sepsis and 17 (15%) probable sepsis. The agents most commonly found were Staphylococcus epidermidis (44%) and Klebsiella pneumoniae (21%). Thirteen patients (27%) died, with infection as the cause of death in nine (19%). Our results confirm the importance of nosocomial neonatal infection, which should involve the strict observance of the asepsis norms and a proper policy of antibiotics.

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