BACKGROUND:

Early-onset sepsis (EOS) is associated with significant morbidity and mortality among infants with a very low birth weight (VLBW); however, there is a sparse amount of complete data on large cohorts.

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the mortality and major morbidities among VLBW infants with EOS.

METHODS:

This was a population-based observational study. Data were prospectively collected by the Israel Neonatal Network on all VLBW infants born in Israel from 1995 through 2005. Univariate and multivariable analyses were performed to assess the independent association of EOS on morbidity and mortality of VLBW infants.

RESULTS:

The study cohort included 15 839 infants, of whom 383 (2.4%) developed EOS. EOS was associated with significantly increased odds for mortality (odds ratio [OR]: 2.57 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.97–3.35]), severe intraventricular hemorrhage (OR: 2.24 [95% CI: 1.67–3.00]), severe retinopathy of prematurity (OR: 2.04 [95% CI: 1.32–3.16]), and bronchopulmonary dysplasia (OR: 1.74 [95% CI: 1.24–2.43]). EOS was associated with an increased risk of death and/or severe neurologic morbidity (OR: 2.92 [95% CI: 2.27–3.80]).

CONCLUSIONS:

Although only 2.4% of VLBW infants had an episode of EOS, these infants were at an approximately threefold excess risk of death or major neurologic morbidities.

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