Association of late-onset neonatal sepsis with late neurodevelopment in the first two years of life of preterm infants with very low birth weight

J Pediatr (Rio J). 2014 Jan-Feb;90(1):50-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jped.2013.10.002. Epub 2013 Oct 20.


Objective: To establish the influence of late-onset sepsis on neurodevelopment of preterm infants with very low birth weight (VLBW), according to the etiologic agent.

Method: This was a cohort of newborns with birth weight<1,500 g and gestational age less than 32 weeks, admitted to the institutional intensive care unit (ICU) with up to 48 hours of life, and followed-up at the outpatient follow-up clinic for preterm infants with VLBW until 2 years of corrected age.

Exclusion criteria: death within the first 72 hours of life, congenital malformations and genetic syndromes, children with congenital infection by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), congenital infection (STORCH), presence of early-onset sepsis and cases with more than one pathogen growth in blood cultures. Septic and non-septic infants were compared regarding neonatal outcomes and mortality. Neurodevelopment was assessed using the Bayley Scale (BSDI-II) at 18 to 24 months of corrected age.

Results: 411 preterm infants with VLBW were eligible; the mean gestational age was 29 ± 2.2 weeks and mean birth weight was 1,041 ± 281 grams. Late-onset sepsis occurred in 94 preterm infants with VLBW (22.8%). VLBW infants with Gram-positive infection showed motor deficit when compared to the non-septic group, 68.8% vs. 29.3%, respectively (OR 6; 1.6-21.8, p=0.006); the cognitive development was similar between the groups. The overall mortality rate from infection was 26.7%; considering the pathogens, the rates were 18.7% for coagulase-negative Staphylococcus, 21.8% for Gram-positive bacteria, and 50% for Gram-negative bacteria and fungi.

Conclusion: Neonatal sepsis has a significant influence on late neurodevelopment at 2 years of corrected age in preterm infants with VLBW, and Gram-positive infections are associated with motor deficit.

Keywords: Mortalidade; Mortality; Muito baixo peso ao nascer; Neonatal sepsis; Neurodesenvolvimento; Neurodevelopment; Prematuros; Preterm; Sepse neonatal; Very low birth weight.

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Developmental Disabilities / microbiology*
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Gram-Negative Bacterial Infections / microbiology
  • Gram-Negative Bacterial Infections / mortality
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections / microbiology
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections / mortality
  • Humans
  • Infant Mortality
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight*
  • Male
  • Motor Skills Disorders / microbiology*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sepsis / microbiology*
  • Sepsis / mortality