Artificial and human intelligence for early identification of neonatal sepsis

Pediatr Res. 2023 Jan;93(2):350-356. doi: 10.1038/s41390-022-02274-7. Epub 2022 Sep 20.


Artificial intelligence may have a role in the early detection of sepsis in neonates. Machine learning can identify patterns that predict high or increasing risk for clinical deterioration from a sepsis-like illness. In developing this potential addition to NICU care, careful consideration should be given to the data and methods used to develop, validate, and evaluate prediction models. When an AI system alerts clinicians to a change in a patient's condition that warrants a bedside evaluation, human intelligence and experience come into play to determine an appropriate course of action: evaluate and treat or wait and watch closely. With intelligently developed, validated, and implemented AI sepsis systems, both clinicians and patients stand to benefit. IMPACT: This narrative review highlights the application of AI in neonatal sepsis prediction. It describes issues in clinical prediction model development specific to this population. This article reviews the methods, considerations, and literature on neonatal sepsis model development and validation. Challenges of AI technology and potential barriers to using sepsis AI systems in the NICU are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intelligence
  • Models, Statistical
  • Neonatal Sepsis*
  • Prognosis
  • Sepsis* / diagnosis