Objective: To describe the hemodynamic changes with time in preterm infants with clinical sepsis.
Study design: Blood pressure, right ventricular output (RVO), left ventricular output (LVO), and superior vena cava (SVC) flow of infants who had a suspected infection and showed signs of cardiovascular compromise were measured every 12 hours or until there was considered clinical improvement.
Results: Twenty infants with a median gestational age of 27 weeks (range, 25-32 weeks) and weight of 995 g (range, 650-1980 g) were examined. Five patients died. The mean (SD) RVO, LVO, and SVC flow at the first measurement were 555 (133), 441 (164), and 104 (39) mL/kg/min, respectively. The calculated systemic vascular resistance (SVR) was 0.08 (0.04) mm Hg/mL/kg/min. There was no significant change in flow in the 15 surviving infants. Blood pressure and SVR increased from the first to the last measurement (mean difference: blood pressure, 8 mm Hg; 95% CI 3 to -13; systemic vascular resistance, 0.02 mm Hg/mL/kg/min; 95% CI, 0.01 to -0.04). Flows decreased and SVR increased in the 5 non-surviving infants (mean difference: RVO, -318 mL/kg/min; 95% CI, -463 to -174; LVO, -292 mL/kg/min; 95% CI, -473 to -111; SVC flow, -46 mL/kg/min; 95% CI, -77 to -16).
Conclusion: Preterm neonates with sepsis have relatively high left and right cardiac outputs and low SVRs. A decrease in RVO or LVO >50% compared with the initial measurement is associated with mortality.
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