Incidence of Late Onset Neonatal Sepsis in Very Low Birth Weight Infants in a Tertiary Hospital : An ongoing challenge

Khalid M AlFaleh


Objectives: Late onset neonatal septicaemia (LONS) is one of the major causes of morbidity and mortality in very low birth weight (VLBW) infants. The main objective of this study was to investigate the rate of LONS in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of King Khalid University Hospital (KKUH) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia over a three year period and compare it to international standards. Methods: To determine the incidence of LONS, a retrospective study was undertaken and premature infants with a birth weight less than 1250 g were included, giving a total of 273 infants. Their bacterial profile and the antimicrobial susceptibility of the isolates were investigated, and the changes in trends over the study period studied. Results:91.5% of included infants (217/237) had 1 or more blood cultures obtained beyond the second day of life. 41% (98/237) of included infants had at least one episode of proven sepsis. The majority (71.4%) of first episode sepsis was caused by Gram-positive organisms. Coagulase negative Staphylococcus accounted for around 80% of all Gram-positive infections. Gram-negative pathogens accounted for 24.5% of the late onset infections while fungal organisms were responsible for 4%. Conclusion: The rate of LONS was high and exceeded internationally reported rates in our tertiary care NICU. Gram-positive organisms continue to be major causative isolates. High priority should be placed on preventative steps to control nosocomial sepsis. 


Very low birth weight infants; Sepsis; Epidemiology

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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

ISSN (Print edition): 2075-051X ISSN (Internet edition): 2075-0528

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