Background: Neonatal nosocomial Gram-negative rod bacteremia (GNR-b) is considered ominous.
Design: Multi-center cohort study of premature infants (N=6172) who had a blood culture after day of life 3 and whose birthweight was < or =1250 g.
Results: A total of 437 neonates developed GNR-b; most commonly with Klebsiella (122/437; 28%), Enterobacter (97/437; 22%), Escherichia coli (90/437; 21%), Pseudomonas (63/437; 14%), and Serratia (49/437; 11%). Neonates infected with Pseudomonas were more likely to die (21/63; 33%) than infants infected with other GNR (50/374; 13%). In multivariable logistic regression, infection with Pseudomonas, mechanical ventilation, and race were associated with subsequent mortality. Postconception age (PCA) was most strongly associated with mortality. Using neonates with >34 weeks PCA at the time of the first blood culture as the reference category, mortality was higher in neonates <26 weeks PCA (odds ratio (OR)=9.21; 95% confidence interval (CI)=2.79, 30.44), and in neonates 26 to 28 weeks PCA (OR=3.94; 95% CI=1.29, 12.03).
Conclusions: Among premature infants, much of the mortality experienced in GNR-b is due to infection with Pseudomonas rather than enteric GNR. Race, the need for mechanical ventilation, and younger PCA when the blood culture was obtained were also strongly associated with mortality.