Background: Neonatal candidiasis is associated with substantial morbidity and mortality rates. Neurodevelopmental follow-up data for a large multicenter cohort have not been reported.
Methods: Data were collected prospectively for neonates born at <1000 g at National Institute of Child Health and Human Development-sponsored Neonatal Research Network sites between September 1, 1998, and December 31, 2001. Uniform follow-up evaluations, including assessments of mental and motor development with the Bayley Scales of Infant Development II, were completed for all survivors at corrected ages of 18 to 22 months. We evaluated risk factors for the development of neonatal candidiasis, responses to antifungal therapy, and the association between candidiasis and subsequent morbidity and death.
Results: The cohort consisted of 4579 infants; 320 of 4579 (7%) developed candidiasis; 307 of 320 had Candida isolated from blood, 27 of 320 had Candida isolated from cerebrospinal fluid, and 13 (48%) of 27 of those with meningitis had negative blood cultures. In multivariate analysis of risk factors on day of life 3, birth weight, cephalosporins, gender, and lack of enteral feeding were associated with development of candidiasis. After diagnosis, most neonates had multiple positive cultures despite antifungal therapy, and 10% of neonates had candidemia for > or =14 days. Death or neurodevelopmental impairment (NDI) was observed for 73% of extremely low birth weight infants who developed candidiasis. Death and NDI rates were greater for infants who had delayed removal or replacement of central catheters (>1 day after initiation of antifungal therapy), compared with infants whose catheters were removed or replaced promptly.
Conclusions: Blood cultures were negative for approximately one half of the infants with Candida meningitis. Persistent candidiasis was common. Delayed catheter removal was associated with increased death and NDI rates.