Objectives: Patients admitted to neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) are at high risk of nosocomial infection. We conducted a national multicenter assessment of nosocomial infections in NICUs to determine the prevalence of infections, describe associated risk factors, and help focus prevention efforts.
Study design: We conducted a point prevalence survey of nosocomial infections in 29 Pediatric Prevention Network NICUs. Patients present on the survey date were included. Data were collected on underlying diagnoses, therapeutic interventions/treatments, infections, and outcomes.
Results: Of the 827 patients surveyed, 94 (11.4%) had 116 NICU-acquired infections: bloodstream (52.6%), lower respiratory tract (12.9%), ear-nose-throat (8.6%), or urinary tract infections (8.6%). Infants with infections were of significantly lower birth weight (median 1006 g [range 441 to 4460 g] vs 1589 g [range 326 to 5480 g]; P <.001) and had longer median durations of stay than those without infections (88 days [range 8 to 279 days] vs 32 days [range 1 to 483 days]; P <.001). Most common pathogens were coagulase-negative staphylococci and enterococci. Patients with central intravascular catheters (relative risk = 3.81, CI 2.32-6.25; P <.001) or receiving total parenteral nutrition (relative risk = 5.72, CI 3.45-9.49; P <.001) were at greater risk of bloodstream infection.
Conclusions: This study documents the high prevalence of nosocomial infections in patients in NICUs and the urgent need for more effective prevention interventions.