Empirical use of antibiotic therapy in the prevention of early onset sepsis in neonates: a pilot study
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Submission date: 2014-07-15
Final revision date: 2014-10-19
Acceptance date: 2014-11-04
Online publication date: 2015-04-28
Publication date: 2016-05-16
Arch Med Sci 2016;12(3):603–613
Introduction: To identify and assess the characteristics, risk and outcome of neonates treated with empiric antibiotics for suspected early onset sepsis (EOS).
Material and methods: This is a retrospective study conducted at a Malaysian government hospital. Records of neonatal patients admitted within 72 h of life and prescribed with empirical antibiotic therapy for suspected EOS were reviewed.
Results: Three hundred and twenty-three cases met the inclusion criteria and were divided into gestational age (premature < 36 weeks; term ≥ 37 weeks) and birth weight (low birth weight (LBW) < 2.5 kg; normal body weight (NBW) ≥ 2.5 kg) groups. Premature (n = 197) and LBW (n = 194) neonates required significantly longer hospital stay, a higher degree of ventilator support and more surfactant (p = 0.001). More than 90.0% of premature and LBW neonates were diagnosed with respiratory distress syndrome, congenital pneumonia and presumed sepsis. Term (n = 123) and NBW (n = 129) neonates had greater maternal risk factors, especially meconium-stained amniotic fluid (MSAF) and perinatal asphyxia. The incidence of demonstrated EOS was 3.1%. Crystalline penicillin plus gentamicin was the standard therapy for all groups and was started within 24 h of life, with a mean treatment duration of ~4 days. The treatment success rate was 89.0%, and only LBW neonates showed a higher risk of overall treatment failure (OR = 3.75; 95% CI: 1.22–11.53). Seventy-four percent of term and NBW neonates discharged well, while 42.0% of premature and LBW neonates required referral.
Conclusions: Crystalline penicillin plus gentamicin prescribed within 24 h of life is effective in the prevention of EOS. However, low birth weight neonates have a higher risk of treatment failure.