Risk factors associated with development of persistent coagulase-negative staphylococci bacteremia in the neonate and associated short-term and discharge morbidities

Neonatology. 2011;99(1):23-31. doi: 10.1159/000292567. Epub 2010 Jun 30.


Background: Coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) are the most common cause of late-onset sepsis in neonatal intensive care unit settings. Historically, authors have questioned the clinical significance of these bacteremia episodes. Recently, clusters of CoNS bacteremia associated with significant morbidity have been reported. The frequency and importance of these clusters of bacteremia and their associated morbidity remains unclear.

Objective: We studied a prolonged cluster of 52 cases of persistent CoNS bacteremia in a level III neonatal intensive care unit to clarify risk factors, morbidity and outcomes associated with persistent CoNS bacteremia.

Study design: A retrospective case-control study of infants with CoNS bacteremia >48 h after initiation of appropriate antibiotics and gestational age-matched control infants was performed. We reviewed patient characteristics prior to and during bacteremia, and outcomes at discharge or death.

Results: Persistently infected infants were significantly more likely to have greater duration of exposure to parenteral nutrition, hydrocortisone, antibiotics, and mechanical ventilation prior to infection. Persistently infected infants were significantly more likely than controls to experience feeding intolerance and to require inotropic support, increased respiratory support, and blood product transfusion during bacteremia. Infants with persistent CoNS bacteremia took longer to achieve full enteral feeds, had higher rates of chronic lung disease and increased length of stay compared to controls. No significant difference in mortality was noted.

Conclusions: Persistent CoNS bacteremia is associated with clinically significant morbidity including feeding intolerance, respiratory failure, blood transfusion and chronic lung disease in this patient population. This impacts hospital course, increases length of stay and impacts medical needs after discharge. During this study, CoNS bacteremia was difficult to clinically eradicate despite in vitro antibiotic susceptibility.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bacteremia / drug therapy
  • Bacteremia / enzymology
  • Bacteremia / epidemiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Coagulase / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal
  • Male
  • Morbidity
  • Nebraska / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Staphylococcal Infections / enzymology
  • Staphylococcal Infections / epidemiology*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / pathology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Coagulase