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DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(17)31444-7

Background Up to 7% of term and late-preterm neonates in high-income countries receive antibiotics during the first 3 days of life because of suspected early-onset sepsis. The prevalence of culture-proven early-onset sepsis is 0·1% or less in high-income countries, suggesting substantial overtreatment. We assess whether procalcitonin-guided decision making for suspected early-onset sepsis can safely reduce the duration of antibiotic treatment.
Methods We did this randomised controlled intervention trial in Dutch (n=11), Swiss (n=4), Canadian (n=2), and Czech (n=1) hospitals. Neonates of gestational age 34 weeks or older, with suspected early-onset sepsis requiring antibiotic treatment were stratified into four risk categories by their treating physicians and randomly assigned [1:1] using a computer-generated list stratified per centre to procalcitonin-guided decision making or standard care-based antibiotic treatment. Neonates who underwent surgery within the first week of life or had major congenital malformations that would have required hospital admission were excluded. Only principal investigators were masked for group assignment. Co-primary outcomes were non-inferiority for re-infection or death in the first month of life (margin 2·0%) and superiority for duration of antibiotic therapy. Intention-to-treat and per-protocol analyses were done. This trial was registered with, number NCT00854932.
Findings Between May 21, 2009, and Feb 14, 2015, we screened 2440 neonates with suspected early-onset sepsis. 622 infants were excluded due to lack of parental consent, 93 were ineligible for reasons unknown (68), congenital malformation (22), or surgery in the first week of life (3). 14 neonates were excluded as 100% data monitoring or retrieval was not feasible, and one neonate was excluded because their procalcitonin measurements could not be taken. 1710 neonates were enrolled and randomly assigned to either procalcitonin-guided therapy (n=866) or standard therapy (n=844). 1408 neonates underwent per-protocol analysis (745 in the procalcitonin group and 663 standard group). For the procalcitonin group, the duration of antibiotic therapy was reduced (intention to treat: 55·1 vs 65·0 h, p<0·0001; per protocol: 51·8 vs 64·0 h; p<0·0001). No sepsis-related deaths occurred, and 9 (<1%) of 1710 neonates had possible re-infection. The risk difference for non-inferiority was 0·1% (95% CI −4·6 to 4·8) in the intention-to-treat analysis (5 [0·6%] of 866 neonates in the procalcitonin group vs 4 [0·5%] of 844 neonates in the standard group) and 0·1% (−5·2 to 5·3) in the per-protocol analysis (5 [0·7%] of 745 neonates in the procalcitonin group vs 4 [0·6%] of 663 neonates in the standard group).
Interpretation Procalcitonin-guided decision making was superior to standard care in reducing antibiotic therapy in neonates with suspected early-onset sepsis. Non-inferiority for re-infection or death could not be shown due to the low occurrence of re-infections and absence of study-related death.
Funding The Thrasher Foundation, the NutsOhra Foundation, the Sophia Foundation for Scientific research.

Neonatal sepsis


DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(17)31002-4
Neonatal sepsis is the cause of substantial morbidity and mortality. Precise estimates of neonatal sepsis burden vary by setting. Differing estimates of disease burden have been reported from high-income countries compared with reports from low-income and middle-income countries. The clinical manifestations range from subclinical infection to severe manifestations of focal or systemic disease. The source of the pathogen might be attributed to an in-utero infection, acquisition from maternal flora, or postnatal acquisition from the hospital or community. The timing of exposure, inoculum size, immune status of the infant, and virulence of the causative agent influence the clinical expression of neonatal sepsis. Immunological immaturity of the neonate might result in an impaired response to infectious agents. This is especially evident in premature infants whose prolonged stays in hospital and need for invasive procedures place them at increased risk for hospital-acquired infections. Clinically, there is often little difference between sepsis that is caused by an identified pathogen and sepsis that is caused by an unknown pathogen. Culture-independent diagnostics, the use of sepsis prediction scores, judicious antimicrobial use, and the development of preventive measures including maternal vaccines are ongoing efforts designed to reduce the burden of neonatal sepsis.


Congenital cytomegalovirus infection in pregnancy and the neonate: consensus recommendations for prevention, diagnosis, and therapy


DOI: 10.1016/S1473-3099(17)30143-3
Congenital cytomegalovirus is the most frequent, yet under-recognised, infectious cause of newborn malformation in developed countries. Despite its clinical and public health importance, questions remain regarding the best diagnostic methods for identifying maternal and neonatal infection, and regarding optimal prevention and therapeutic strategies for infected mothers and neonates. The absence of guidelines impairs global efforts to decrease the effect of congenital cytomegalovirus. Data in the literature suggest that congenital cytomegalovirus infection remains a research priority, but data are yet to be translated into clinical practice. An informal International Congenital Cytomegalovirus Recommendations Group was convened in 2015 to address these questions and to provide recommendations for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. On the basis of consensus discussions and a review of the literature, we do not support universal screening of mothers and the routine use of cytomegalovirus immunoglobulin for prophylaxis or treatment of infected mothers. However, treatment guidelines for infected neonates were recommended. Consideration must be given to universal neonatal screening for cytomegalovirus to facilitate early detection and intervention for sensorineural hearing loss and developmental delay, where appropriate. The group agreed that education and prevention strategies for mothers were beneficial, and that recommendations will need continual updating as further data become available.

Oncological management and obstetric and neonatal outcomes for women diagnosed with cancer during pregnancy: a 20-year international cohort study of 1170 patients


DOI: 10.1016/S1470-2045(18)30059-7
Background Awareness is growing that cancer can be treated during pregnancy, but the effect of this change on maternal and neonatal outcomes is unknown. The International Network on Cancer, Infertility and Pregnancy (INCIP) registers the incidence and maternal, obstetric, oncological, and neonatal outcomes of cancer occurring during pregnancy. We aimed to describe the oncological management and obstetric and neonatal outcomes of patients registered in INCIP and treated in the past 20 years, and assess associations between cancer type or treatment modality and obstetric and neonatal outcomes.
Methods This descriptive cohort study included pregnant patients with cancer registered from all 37 centres (from 16 countries) participating in the INCIP registry. Oncological, obstetric, and neonatal outcome data of consecutive patients diagnosed with primary invasive cancer during pregnancy between Jan 1, 1996, and Nov 1, 2016, were retrospectively and prospectively collected. We analysed changes over time in categorical patient characteristics, outcomes, and treatment methods with log-binomial regression. We used multiple logistic regression to analyse preterm, prelabour rupture of membranes (PPROM) or preterm contractions, small for gestational age, and admission to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The INCIP registry study is registered with, number NCT00330447, and is ongoing.
Findings 1170 patients were included in the analysis and 779 (67%) received treatment during pregnancy. Breast cancer was the most common malignant disease (462 [39%]). Every 5 years, the likelihood of receiving treatment during pregnancy increased (relative risk [RR] 1·10, 95% CI 1·05–1·15), mainly related to an increase of chemotherapeutic treatment (1·31, 1·20–1·43). Overall, 955 (88%) of 1089 singleton pregnancies ended in a livebirth, of which 430 (48%) of 887 pregnancies ended preterm. Each 5 years, we observed more livebirths (RR 1·04, 95% CI 1·01–1·06) and fewer iatrogenic preterm deliveries (0·91, 0·84–0·98). Our data suggest a relationship between platinum-based chemotherapy and small for gestational age (odds ratio [OR] 3·12, 95% CI 1·45–6·70), and between taxane chemotherapy and NICU admission (OR 2·37, 95% CI 1·31–4·28). NICU admission seemed to depend on cancer type, with gastrointestinal cancers having highest risk (OR 7·13, 95% CI 2·86–17·7) and thyroid cancers having lowest risk (0·14, 0·02–0·90) when compared with breast cancer. Unexpectedly, the data suggested that abdominal or cervical surgery was associated with a reduced likelihood of NICU admission (OR 0·30, 95% CI 0·17–0·55). Other associations between treatment or cancer type and outcomes were less clear.
Interpretation Over the years, the proportion of patients with cancer during pregnancy who received antenatal treatment increased, especially treatment with chemotherapy. Our data indicate that babies exposed to antenatal chemotherapy might be more likely to develop complications, specifically small for gestational age and NICU admission, than babies not exposed. We therefore recommend involving hospitals with obstetric high-care units in the management of these patients.
Funding Research Foundation—Flanders, European Research Council, Charles University, Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic. To read this article in full you will need to make a payment


Advances in nutrition of the newborn infant


DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(17)30552-4
Nutrition of newborn infants, particularly of those born preterm, has advanced substantially in recent years. Extremely preterm infants have high nutrient demands that are challenging to meet, such that growth faltering is common. Inadequate growth is associated with poor neurodevelopmental outcomes, and although improved early growth is associated with better cognitive outcomes, there might be a trade-off in terms of worse metabolic outcomes, although the contribution of early nutrition to these associations is not established. New developments include recommendations to increase protein supply, improve formulations of parenteral lipids, and provide mineral supplements while encouraging human milk feeding. However, high quality evidence of the risks and benefits of these developments is lacking. Clinical trials are also needed to assess the effect on preterm infants of experiencing the smell and taste of milk, to determine whether boys and girls should be fed differently, and to test effects of insulin and IGF-1 supplements on growth and developmental outcomes. Moderate-to-late preterm infants have neonatal nutritional challenges that are similar to those infants born at earlier gestations, but even less high quality evidence exists upon which to base clinical decisions. The focus of research in nutrition of infants born at term is largely directed at new formula products that will improve cognitive and metabolic outcomes. Providing the most effective nutrition to preterm infants should be prioritised as an important focus of neonatal care research to improve long-term metabolic and developmental outcomes.