Prophylactic indomethacin reduces severe intraventricular hemorrhage but may increase spontaneous intestinal perforation (SIP) in extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants. Early feedings improve nutritional outcomes but may increase the risk of SIP. Despite their benefits, use of these therapies varies largely by physician preferences in part because of the concern for SIP.
This was a cohort study of 15 751 ELBW infants in the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network from 1999 to 2010 who survived beyond 12 hours after birth. The risk of SIP was compared between groups of infants with and without exposure to prophylactic indomethacin and early feeding in unadjusted analyses and in analyses adjusted for center and for risks of SIP.
Among infants exposed to prophylactic indomethacin, the risk of SIP did not differ between the indomethacin/early-feeding group compared with the indomethacin/no-early-feeding group (adjusted relative risk [RR] 0.74, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.49–1.11). The risk of SIP was lower in the indomethacin/early-feeding group compared with the no indomethacin/no-early-feeding group (adjusted RR 0.58, 95% CI 0.37–0.90, P = .0159). Among infants not exposed to indomethacin, early feeding was associated with a lower risk of SIP compared with the no early feeding group (adjusted RR 0.53, 95% CI 0.36–0.777, P = .0011).
The combined or individual use of prophylactic indomethacin and early feeding was not associated with an increased risk of SIP in ELBW infants.
indomethacin; intestinal perforation; necrotizing enterocolitis; neonate
To characterize the incidence, management and short term outcomes of cardiovascular insufficiency (CVI) in mechanically ventilated newborns, evaluating 4 separate pre-specified definitions.
Multicenter, prospective cohort study of infants ≥34 weeks gestational age (GA) and on mechanical ventilation during the first 72 hours. CVI was prospectively defined as either (1) mean arterial pressure (MAP)
Of 647 who met inclusion criteria, 419 (65%) met ≥1 definition of CVI. Of these, 98% received fluid boluses, 36% inotropes and 17% corticosteroids. Of treated infants, 46% did not have CVI as defined by a MAP < GA ± signs of inadequate perfusion. Inotrope therapy was associated with increased mortality (11.1% vs. 1.3%; P < 0.05).
More than half of the infants met at least one definition of CVI. However, almost half of the treated infants met none of the definitions. Inotropic therapy was associated with increased mortality. These findings can help guide the design of future studies of CVI in newborns.
blood pressure; cardiovascular insufficiency; mechanical ventilation; inotrope; fluid bolus; glucocorticoid; outcomes; newborn
To test the hypothesis that the proportion of endotracheal intubation (ETI) in the delivery room (DR) decreased in Neonatal Research Network (NRN) centres after the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development NRN Surfactant, Positive Pressure, and Oxygenation Randomised Trial (SUPPORT).
Retrospective cohort study using the prospective NRN generic database.
Eleven centres that participated in the SUPPORT trial and remained part of the NRN. Preterm neonates 240/7–276/7 weeks’ gestational age enrolled in the SUPPORT trial were randomised to: (1) DR continuous positive airway pressure or DR ETI with early surfactant administration; and (2) oxygen saturation targets of 85–89% or 91–95%. The prior NRN feasibility trial had assessed the feasibility of randomisation to continuous positive airway pressure versus ETI.
Infants 240/7–276/7 weeks’ gestational age, excluding infants with syndromes or major malformations and those on comfort care only.
Main outcome measure
Proportion of DR ETI.
The proportion of DR ETI decreased significantly in the group of infants from centres that had not participated in the feasibility trial (91% before vs 75% after SUPPORT, adjusted relative risk 0.86, 95% CI 0.83–0.89, p<0.0001) but not in the group of infants from the other centres, where the proportion of ETI was already lower prior to initiation of the SUPPORT trial (61% before vs 58% after SUPPORT, adjusted relative risk 0.96, 95% CI 0.89 to 1.05, p=0.40).
This study shows that DR ETI changed after SUPPORT only in NRN centres that had not participated in a similar trial.
Obstetric antecedents were analyzed in births where the infant received whole-body cooling for neonatal encephalopathy.
This retrospective cohort study included all live-born singleton infants delivered at or beyond 36 weeks gestation from October 2005 through December 2011. Infants who had received whole-body cooling identified by review of a prospective neonatal registry were compared to a control group comprising the remaining obstetric population delivered at greater than 36 weeks but not cooled. Univariable analysis was followed by a staged, stepwise selection of variables with the intent to rank significant risk factors for cooling.
A total of 86,371 women delivered during the study period and 98 infants received whole-body cooling (1.1/1,000 livebirths). Of these 98 infants, 80 (88%) newborns had moderate encephalopathy and 10 (12%) had severe encephalopathy prior to cooling. Maternal age less than or equal to 15 years, low parity, maternal body habitus (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2), diabetes, preeclampsia, induction, epidural analgesia, chorioamnionitis, length of labor, and mode of delivery were associated with significantly increased risk of infant cooling during univariable analysis. Catastrophic events to include umbilical cord prolapse (OR 14; 95%CI, 3–72), placental abruption (OR 17; 95%CI, 7–44), uterine rupture (OR 130; 95%CI, 11–1477) were the strongest factors associated with infant cooling after staged-stepwise logistic analysis.
A variety of intrapartum characteristics were associated with infant cooling for neonatal encephalopathy with the most powerful antecedents being umbilical cord prolapse, placental abruption, and uterine rupture.
perinatal acidemia; systemic hypothermia
Birth defects (BDs) are an important cause of infant mortality and disproportionately occur among low birth weight infants. We determined the prevalence of BDs in a cohort of very low birth weight (VLBW) infants cared for at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network (NRN) centers over a 10-year period and examined the relationship between anomalies, neonatal outcomes, and surgical care.
Infant and maternal data were collected prospectively for infants weighing 401 to 1500 g at NRN sites between January 1, 1998, and December 31, 2007. Poisson regression models were used to compare risk of outcomes for infants with versus without BDs while adjusting for gestational age and other characteristics.
A BD was present in 1776 (4.8%) of the 37 262 infants in our VLBW cohort. Yearly prevalence of BDs increased from 4.0% of infants born in 1998 to 5.6% in 2007, P < .001. Mean gestational age overall was 28 weeks, and mean birth weight was 1007 g. Infants with BDs were more mature but more likely to be small for gestational age compared with infants without BDs. Chromosomal and cardiovascular anomalies were most frequent with each occurring in 20% of affected infants. Mortality was higher among infants with BDs (49% vs 18%; adjusted relative risk: 3.66 [95% confidence interval: 3.41–3.92]; P < .001) and varied by diagnosis. Among those surviving >3 days, more infants with BDs underwent major surgery (48% vs 13%, P < .001).
Prevalence of BDs increased during the 10 years studied. BDs remain an important cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality among VLBW infants.
birth defects; prematurity; Neonatal Research Network; low birth weight
To investigate the relationships among blood pressure (BP) values, antihypotensive therapies, and in-hospital outcomes to identify a BP threshold below which antihypotensive therapies may be beneficial.
Prospective observational study of infants 230/7 to 266/7 weeks’ gestational age. Hourly BP values and antihypotensive therapy use in the first 24 hours were recorded. Low BP was investigated by using 15 definitions. Outcomes were examined by using regression analysis controlling for gestational age, the number of low BP values, and illness severity.
Of 367 infants enrolled, 203 (55%) received at least 1 antihypotensive therapy. Treated infants were more likely to have low BP by any definition (P < .001), but for the 15 definitions of low BP investigated, therapy was not prescribed to 3% to 49% of infants with low BP and, paradoxically, was administered to 28% to 41% of infants without low BP. Treated infants were more likely than untreated infants to develop severe retinopathy of prematurity (15% vs 8%, P = .03) or severe intraventricular hemorrhage (22% vs 11%, P < .01) and less likely to survive (67% vs 78%, P = .02). However, with regression analysis, there were no significant differences between groups in survival or in-hospital morbidity rates.
Factors other than BP contributed to the decision to use antihypotensive therapies. Infant outcomes were not improved with antihypotensive therapy for any of the 15 definitions of low BP investigated.
extremely preterm infant; antihypotensive therapy; blood pressure; hypotension
Myo-inositol given to preterm infants with respiratory distress has reduced death, increased survival without bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) and reduced severe retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) in 2 randomized trials. Pharmacokinetic (PK) studies in extremely preterm infants are needed prior to efficacy trials.
Infants of 23–29 weeks gestation were randomized to a single intravenous (IV) dose of inositol at 60 or 120 mg/kg or placebo. Over 96 h, serum levels (sparse sampling population PK) and urine inositol excretion were determined. Population PK models were fit using a nonlinear mixed effects approach. Safety outcomes were recorded.
A 1-compartment model that included factors for endogenous inositol production, allometric size based on weight, gestational age (GA) strata and creatinine clearance fit the data best. The central volume of distribution was 0.5115 l/kg, the clearance 0.0679 l/kg/h, endogenous production 2.67 mg/kg/h and the half life 5.22 h when modeled without the covariates. During the first 12 h renal inositol excretion quadrupled in the 120 mg/kg group, returning to near baseline after 48 h. There was no diuretic side-effect. No significant differences in adverse events occurred between the 3 groups (p > 0.05).
A single compartment model accounting for endogenous production satisfactorily described the PK of IV inositol.
To examine whether preterm very low birth weight (VLBW) infants have an increased risk of late-onset sepsis (LOS) following early-onset sepsis (EOS).
Retrospective analysis of VLBW infants (401-1500 g) born September 1998 through December 2009 who survived >72 hours and were cared for within the NICHD Neonatal Research Network. Sepsis was defined by growth of bacteria or fungi in a blood culture obtained ≤72 hr of birth (EOS) or >72 hr (LOS) and antimicrobial therapy for ≥5 days or death <5 d while receiving therapy. Regression models were used to assess risk of death or LOS by 120d and LOS by 120d among survivors to discharge or 120d, adjusting for gestational age and other covariates.
Of 34,396 infants studied 504 (1.5%) had EOS. After adjustment, risk of death or LOS by 120d did not differ overall for infants with EOS compared with those without EOS [RR:0.99 (0.89-1.09)] but was reduced in infants born at <25wk gestation [RR:0.87 (0.76-0.99), p=0.048]. Among survivors, no difference in LOS risk was found overall for infants with versus without EOS [RR:0.88 (0.75-1.02)], but LOS risk was shorter in infants with BW 401-750 g who had EOS [RR:0.80 (0.64-0.99), p=0.047].
Risk of LOS after EOS was not increased in VLBW infants. Surprisingly, risk of LOS following EOS appeared to be reduced in the smallest, most premature infants, underscoring the need for age-specific analyses of immune function.
Very low birth weight; early-onset sepsis; late-onset sepsis
To evaluate serum neuronal and inflammatory biomarkers to determine whether measurements of umbilical cords at birth can stratify severity of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), whether serial measurements differ with hypothermia-rewarming, and whether biomarkers correlate with neurological outcomes.
This is a prospective cohort of inborn term newborns with varying degrees of HIE by neurological assessment. Neuronal glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), ubiquitin carboxyl-terminal hydrolase L1, and inflammatory cytokines were measured in serum from umbilical artery at 6–24, 48, 72, and 78 hours of age. Neurodevelopmental outcomes (Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development-III scales) were performed at 15–18 months.
Twenty neonates had moderate (n = 17) or severe (n = 3) HIE and received hypothermia; 7 had mild HIE and were not cooled. At birth, serum GFAP and ubiquitin carboxyl-terminal hydrolase L1 increased with the severity of HIE (P < .001), and serial GFAP remained elevated in neonates with moderate to severe HIE. Interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, and vascular endothelial growth factor were greater at 6–24 hours in moderate to severe vs mild HIE (P < .05). The serial values were unaffected by hypothermia-rewarming. Elevated GFAP, IL-1, IL-6, IL-8, tumor necrosis factor, interferon, and vascular endothelial growth factor at 6–24 hours were associated with abnormal neurological outcomes.
The severity of the hypoxic-ischemic injury can be stratified at birth because elevated neuronal biomarkers in cord serum correlated with severity of HIE and outcomes.
Background. Children <2 years of age are at high risk of influenza-related mortality and morbidity. However, the appropriate dose of oseltamivir for children <2 years of age is unknown.
Methods. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Collaborative Antiviral Study Group evaluated oseltamivir in infants aged <2 years in an age–de-escalation, adaptive design with a targeted systemic exposure.
Results. From 2006 to 2010, 87 subjects enrolled. An oseltamivir dose of 3.0 mg/kg produced drug exposures within the target range in subjects 0–8 months of age, although there was a greater degree of variability in infants <3 months of age. In subjects 9–11 months of age, a dose of 3.5 mg/kg produced drug exposures within the target range. Six of 10 subjects aged 12–23 months receiving the Food and Drug Administration–approved unit dose for this age group (ie, 30 mg) had oseltamivir carboxylate exposures below the target range. Virus from 3 subjects developed oseltamivir resistance during antiviral treatment.
Conclusions. The appropriate twice-daily oral oseltamivir dose for infants ≤8 months of age is 3.0 mg/kg, while the dose for infants 9–11 months old is 3.5 mg/kg.
Clinical Trials Registration. NCT00391768.
Oseltamivir; Tamiflu; influenza; antiviral treatment; antiviral resistance
To determine the frequency of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) in preterm infants of 33 to 35 weeks’ gestational age on the basis of physiological screening for perinatal acidosis and neurological assessment of encephalopathy and to correlate neurodevelopmental outcomes with brain magnetic resonance imaging findings.
This retrospective cohort study included all inborn infants of 33 to 35 weeks’ gestation admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit at Parkland Memorial Hospital with perinatal acidosis from October 2005 to September 2008. Their medical records were reviewed, and pertinent data were recorded.
Of 1305 newborns, 2.5% (n = 33) had perinatal acidosis, and 27% (n = 9) of these had HIE (2, mild; 4, moderate; 3, severe). Persistence of metabolic acidosis on the first arterial blood gas obtained in the first hour of age was significantly associated with HIE (P < .005). Magnetic resonance imaging results were abnormal in 3 of 4 infants with moderate HIE and in both survivors with severe HIE. Death or disability occurred in no infants with mild or moderate HIE, but in all infants with severe HIE.
Screening criteria for HIE that use biochemical and neurological assessments as performed in term newborns can be applied to preterm infants of 33 to 35 weeks’ gestation.
To assess the impact of emperic antifungal therapy of invasive candidiasis on subsequent outcomes in premature infants.
This was a cohort study of infants ≤1000 g birth weight cared for at Neonatal Research Network sites. All infants had at least 1 positive culture for Candida. Emperic antifungal therapy was defined as receipt of a systemic antifungal on the day of or the day before the first positive culture for Candida was drawn. We created Cox proportional hazards and logistic regression models stratified on propensity score quartiles to determine the effect of emperic antifungal therapy on survival, time to clearance of infection, retinopathy of prematurity, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, end-organ damage, and neurodevelopmental impairment (NDI).
136 infants developed invasive candidiasis. The incidence of death or NDI was lower for infants who received emperic antifungal therapy (19/38, 50%) compared with those who had not (55/86, 64%; odds ratio=0.27 [95% confidence interval 0.08–0.86]). There was no significant difference between the groups for any single outcome or other combined outcomes.
Emperic antifungal therapy was associated with increased survival without NDI. A prospective randomized trial of this strategy is warranted.
Candida; neonate; mortality; neurodevelopmental impairment
Information on cytokine profiles in fungal sepsis (FS), an important cause of mortality in extremely low birthweight infants (ELBW), is lacking. We hypothesized that cytokine profiles in the 1st 21 days of life in ELBW with FS differ from those with bacterial sepsis (BS) or no sepsis (NS).
In a secondary analyses of the NICHD Cytokine study, three groups were defined - FS (≥1 episode of FS), BS (≥1 episode of BS without FS), and NS. Association between 11 cytokines assayed in dried blood spots obtained on days 0-1, 3±1, 7±2, 14±3, and 21±3 and sepsis group was explored.
Of 1066 infants, 89 had FS and 368 had BS. Compared to BS, FS was more likely to be associated with lower birthweight, vaginal delivery, patent ductus arteriosus, postnatal steroids, multiple central lines, longer respiratory support and hospital stay, and higher mortality (p<0.05). Analyses controlling for covariates showed significant group differences over time for IFN-γ, IL-10, IL-18, TGF-β and TNF-α (p<0.05).
Significant differences in profiles for IFN-γ, IL-10, IL-18, TGF-β and TNF-α in FS, BS or NS in this hypothesis-generating secondary study require validation in rigorously designed prospective studies and may have implications for diagnosis and treatment.
Data are limited on the impact of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) on morbidity and mortality among very low birth weight (VLBW) infants with S aureus (SA) bacteremia and/or meningitis (B/M).
Neonatal data for VLBW infants (birth weight 401–1500 g) born January 1, 2006, to December 31, 2008, who received care at centers of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network were collected prospectively. Early-onset (≤72 hours after birth) and late-onset (>72 hours) infections were defined by blood or cerebrospinal fluid cultures and antibiotic treatment of ≥5 days (or death <5 days with intent to treat). Outcomes were compared for infants with MRSA versus methicillin-susceptible S aureus (MSSA) B/M.
Of 8444 infants who survived >3 days, 316 (3.7%) had SA B/M. Eighty-eight had MRSA (1% of all infants, 28% of infants with SA); 228 had MSSA (2.7% of all infants, 72% of infants with SA). No infant had both MRSA and MSSA B/M. Ninety-nine percent of MRSA infections were late-onset. The percent of infants with MRSA varied by center (P < .001) with 9 of 20 centers reporting no cases. Need for mechanical ventilation, diagnosis of respiratory distress syndrome, necrotizing enterocolitis, and other morbidities did not differ between infants with MRSA and MSSA. Mortality was high with both MRSA (23 of 88, 26%) and MSSA (55 of 228, 24%).
Few VLBW infants had SA B/M. The 1% with MRSA had morbidity and mortality rates similar to infants with MSSA. Practices should provide equal focus on prevention and management of both MRSA and MSSA infections among VLBW infants.
Staphylococcus aureus; methicillin resistant; infant; newborn
Extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants with candiduria are at substantial risk for death or neurodevelopmental impairment. Therefore, identification of candiduria should prompt a systemic evaluation for disseminated Candida infection and initiation of treatment in all ELBW infants.
Background. Candidiasis carries a significant risk of death or neurodevelopmental impairment (NDI) in extremely low birth weight infants (ELBW; <1000 g). We sought to determine the impact of candiduria in ELBW preterm infants.
Methods. Our study was a secondary analysis of the Neonatal Research Network study Early Diagnosis of Nosocomial Candidiasis. Follow-up assessments included Bayley Scales of Infant Development examinations at 18–22 months of corrected age. Risk factors were compared between groups using exact tests and general linear modeling. Death, NDI, and death or NDI were compared using generalized linear mixed modeling.
Results. Of 1515 infants enrolled, 34 (2.2%) had candiduria only. Candida was isolated from blood only (69 of 1515 [4.6%]), cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) only (2 of 1515 [0.1%]), other sterile site only (not urine, blood, or CSF; 4 of 1515 [0.3%]), or multiple sources (28 of 1515 [2%]). Eleven infants had the same Candida species isolated in blood and urine within 3 days; 3 (27%) had a positive urine culture result first. Most urine isolates were Candida albicans (21 of 34 [62%]) or Candida parapsilosis (7 of 34 [29%]). Rate of death or NDI was greater among those with candiduria (50%) than among those with suspected but not proven infection (32%; odds ratio, 2.5 [95% confidence interval, 1.2–5.3]) after adjustment. No difference in death and death or NDI was noted between infants with candiduria and those with candidemia.
Conclusions. These findings provide compelling evidence that ELBW infants with candiduria are at substantial risk of death or NDI. Candiduria in ELBW preterm infants should prompt a systemic evaluation (blood, CSF, and abdominal ultrasound) for disseminated Candida infection and warrants treatment.
Background. Cytomegalovirus (CMV), the most common cause of congenital infection, exhibits extensive genetic variability. We sought to determine whether multiple CMV strains can be transmitted to the fetus and to describe the distribution of genotypes in the saliva, urine, and blood.
Methods. Study subjects consisted of a convenience sampling of 28 infants found to be CMV-positive on newborn screening as part of an ongoing study. Genotyping was performed on saliva specimens obtained during newborn screening and urine, saliva, and blood obtained at a later time point within the first 3 weeks of life.
Results. Six (21.4%) of the 28 saliva samples obtained within the first 2 days of life contained >1 CMV genotype. Multiple CMV genotypes were found in 39% (5/13) of urine, saliva, and blood samples obtained within the first 3 weeks of life from 13 of the 28 newborns. There was no predominance of a CMV genotype at a specific site; however, 4 infants demonstrated distinct CMV strains in different compartments.
Conclusions. Infection with multiple CMV strains occurs in infants with congenital CMV infection. The impact of intrauterine infection with multiple virus strains on the pathogenesis and long-term outcome remains to be elucidated.
Influenza vaccine immunogenicity in premature infants is incompletely characterized.
To assess the immunogenicity of trivalent, inactivated influenza vaccine (TIV) in extremely low-birth-weight (ELBW, ≤1000 grams birth weight), premature (<30 weeks gestation) infants. We hypothesized that geometric mean titers (GMT) of influenza antibody would be lower in premature than in full-term (≥37 week) infants.
In this prospective, multicenter study, former premature and full-term infants ages, 6–17 months, received 2 doses of TIV during the 2006–7 or 2007–8 influenza seasons. Sera were drawn before dose 1 and 4–6 weeks after dose 2. Antibody was measured by hemagglutination inhibition.
Over two years, 41 premature and 42 full-term infants were enrolled; 36 and 33 of these infants, respectively, had post-vaccination titers available. Premature infants weighed less (mean 1.3 – 1.8 kg difference) at the time of immunization than full-term infants. Pre-vaccination titers did not differ between groups. Premature infants had higher post-vaccination antibody GMT than full-term infants to H1 (2006–7, 1:513 v. 1:91, P=0.03; 2007–8, 1:363 v. 1:189, P=0.02) and B/Victoria (2006–7, 1:51 v. 1:10, P=0.02). More premature than full-term infants had antibody titers ≥ 1:32 to B/Victoria (85% v. 60%, p=0.04) in 2007–8. Two (5%) premature and 8 (19%) full-term infants had adverse events, primarily fever, within 72 hours after vaccination. No child had medically-diagnosed influenza.
Former premature infants had antibody responses to two TIV doses greater than or equal to those of full-term children. Two TIV doses are immunogenic and well tolerated in ELBW, premature infants 6–17 months old.
Premature infant; very low birth weight infant; influenza vaccines; immunization; vaccines
Guidelines for prevention of group B streptococcal (GBS) infection have successfully reduced early onset (EO) GBS disease. Study results suggest that Escherichia coli is an important EO pathogen.
To determine EO infection rates, pathogens, morbidity, and mortality in a national network of neonatal centers.
Infants with EO infection were identified by prospective surveillance at Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Network centers. Infection was defined by positive culture results for blood and cerebrospinal fluid obtained from infants aged ≤72 hours plus treatment with antibiotic therapy for ≥5 days. Mother and infant characteristics, treatments, and outcomes were studied. Numbers of cases and total live births (LBs) were used to calculate incidence.
Among 396 586 LBs (2006–2009), 389 infants developed EO infection (0.98 cases per 1000 LBs). Infection rates increased with decreasing birth weight. GBS (43%, 0.41 per 1000 LBs) and E coli (29%, 0.28 per 1000 LBs) were most frequently isolated. Most infants with GBS were term (73%); 81% with E coli were preterm. Mothers of 67% of infected term and 58% of infected preterm infants were screened for GBS, and results were positive for 25% of those mothers. Only 76% of mothers with GBS colonization received intrapartum chemoprophylaxis. Although 77% of infected infants required intensive care, 20% of term infants were treated in the normal newborn nursery. Sixteen percent of infected infants died, most commonly with E coli infection (33%).
In the era of intrapartum chemoprophylaxis to reduce GBS, rates of EO infection have declined but reflect a continued burden of disease. GBS remains the most frequent pathogen in term infants, and E coli the most significant pathogen in preterm infants. Missed opportunities for GBS prevention continue. Prevention of E coli sepsis, especially among preterm infants, remains a challenge.
neonatal sepsis; group B streptococcal disease; Escherichia coli infection
Poor neurodevelopmental outcomes and recurrences of cutaneous lesions remain unacceptably frequent among survivors of neonatal herpes simplex virus (HSV) disease.
We enrolled neonates with HSV disease in two parallel, identical, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies. Neonates with central nervous system (CNS) involvement were enrolled in one study, and neonates with skin, eye, and mouth involvement only were enrolled in the other. After completing a regimen of 14 to 21 days of parenteral acyclovir, the infants were randomly assigned to immediate acyclovir suppression (300 mg per square meter of body-surface area per dose orally, three times daily for 6 months) or placebo. Cutaneous recurrences were treated with open-label episodic therapy.
A total of 74 neonates were enrolled — 45 with CNS involvement and 29 with skin, eye, and mouth disease. The Mental Development Index of the Bayley Scales of Infant Development (in which scores range from 50 to 150, with a mean of 100 and with higher scores indicating better neurodevelopmental outcomes) was assessed in 28 of the 45 infants with CNS involvement (62%) at 12 months of age. After adjustment for covariates, infants with CNS involvement who had been randomly assigned to acyclovir suppression had significantly higher mean Bayley mental-development scores at 12 months than did infants randomly assigned to placebo (88.24 vs. 68.12, P = 0.046). Overall, there was a trend toward more neutropenia in the acyclovir group than in the placebo group (P = 0.09).
Infants surviving neonatal HSV disease with CNS involvement had improved neurodevelopmental outcomes when they received suppressive therapy with oral acyclovir for 6 months. (Funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; CASG 103 and CASG 104 ClinicalTrials.gov numbers, NCT00031460 and NCT00031447, respectively.)
Congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is an important cause of hearing loss, and most infants at risk for CMV-associated hearing loss are not identified early in life because of failure to test for the infection. The standard assay for newborn CMV screening is rapid culture performed on saliva specimens obtained at birth, but this assay cannot be automated. Two alternatives — real-time polymerase-chain-reaction (PCR)–based testing of a liquid-saliva or dried-saliva specimen obtained at birth — have been developed.
In our prospective, multicenter screening study of newborns, we compared real-time PCR assays of liquid-saliva and dried-saliva specimens with rapid culture of saliva specimens obtained at birth.
A total of 177 of 34,989 infants (0.5%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.4 to 0.6) were positive for CMV, according to at least one of the three methods. Of 17,662 newborns screened with the use of the liquid-saliva PCR assay, 17,569 were negative for CMV, and the remaining 85 infants (0.5%; 95% CI, 0.4 to 0.6) had positive results on both culture and PCR assay. The sensitivity and specificity of the liquid-saliva PCR assay were 100% (95% CI, 95.8 to 100) and 99.9% (95% CI, 99.9 to 100), respectively, and the positive and negative predictive values were 91.4% (95% CI, 83.8 to 96.2) and 100% (95% CI, 99.9 to 100), respectively. Of 17,327 newborns screened by means of the dried-saliva PCR assay, 74 were positive for CMV, whereas 76 (0.4%; 95% CI, 0.3 to 0.5) were found to be CMV-positive on rapid culture. Sensitivity and specificity of the dried-saliva PCR assay were 97.4% (95% CI, 90.8 to 99.7) and 99.9% (95% CI, 99.9 to 100), respectively. The positive and negative predictive values were 90.2% (95% CI, 81.7 to 95.7) and 99.9% (95% CI, 99.9 to 100), respectively.
Real-time PCR assays of both liquid- and dried-saliva specimens showed high sensitivity and specificity for detecting CMV infection and should be considered potential screening tools for CMV in newborns. (Funded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.)