Infection in ELBW infants linked with poor neurodevelopmental, growth outcomes

Extremely low-birth-weight (ELBW) infants who have an infection during their hospitalization following birth are more likely to have adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes than those infants who do not have an infection, according to a study in the November 17 issue of JAMA.

Infections are known to be a frequent complication among ELBW (14.2 ounces to 35.3 ounces) preterm infants, and are associated with short-term illness and increased risk of death, according to background information in the article.

Barbara J. Stoll, M.D., of the Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, and colleagues conducted a study to determine if neonatal (during the first 120 days of life) infections are associated with adverse neurodevelopmental and growth abnormalities in early childhood.

The study included infants, born 1993-2001, who were enrolled in a very low-birth-weight registry at academic medical centers participating in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network. Neurodevelopmental and growth outcomes were assessed at a comprehensive follow-up visit at 18 to 22 months (from conception) and compared by infection group. Eighty percent of survivors completed the follow-up visit and 6,093 infants were studied. Registry data were used to classify infants by type of infection: uninfected (n = 2,161), clinical infection alone (negative infection requiring 5 days or more of antibiotics; n = 1,538), sepsis (positive blood cultures requiring 5 days or more of antibiotic treatment; n = 1,922), sepsis and necrotizing enterocolitis (inflammation involving both the small intestine and the colon; n = 279), or meningitis with or without sepsis (n = 193).

The majority of ELBW survivors (65 percent) had at least 1 infection during their hospitalization after birth. The researchers found that compared with uninfected infants, those in each of the 4 infection groups were significantly more likely to have adverse neurode

Contact: Kathy Baker
JAMA and Archives Journals

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