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Ending the Culture of Culture-Negative Sepsis in the Neonatal ICU

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Ending the Culture of Culture-Negative Sepsis in the Neonatal ICU

ABSTRACT

DOI: 10.1542/peds.2017-0044
Sepsis is a major cause of morbidity and mortality among infants in the NICU. Because septic infants present with nonspecific clinical findings, providers are justifiably concerned about missing sepsis. Blood cultures are the gold standard for diagnosis of sepsis, and when adequate volumes are obtained, cultures have excellent sensitivity even when the infant has very low levels of bacteremia.1 However, many providers view sterile culture results with skepticism, especially when the infant appears ill or received antibiotics before cultures were obtained. Therefore, we have developed a culture (no pun intended) of acceptance in treating “culture-negative” sepsis. Recent reports suggest that up to 10 times as much antibiotic is used for culture-negative sepsis as for culture-proven sepsis.2,3 This practice must stop. The evidence for unintended harm caused by prolonged or unnecessary antibiotic exposure continues to mount and includes increased risk for obesity, atopy, and, for preterm infants, necrotizing enterocolitis, sepsis, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, and death.4 Why then do providers view sterile cultures with such skepticism?
The first reason is that providers have all-too-frequent experiences with cultures that are obtained incorrectly. Blood cultures collected inappropriately cannot be trusted, but such cultures, unfortunately, are a common problem. The recommendation is that a minimum of 1 mL of blood, either in 1 culture or divided into 2 0.5 mL cultures, be obtained from infants …

 

ABSTRACT

DOI: 10.1542/peds.2017-0044
Sepsis is a major cause of morbidity and mortality among infants in the NICU. Because septic infants present with nonspecific clinical findings, providers are justifiably concerned about missing sepsis. Blood cultures are the gold standard for diagnosis of sepsis, and when adequate volumes are obtained, cultures have excellent sensitivity even when the infant has very low levels of bacteremia.1 However, many providers view sterile culture results with skepticism, especially when the infant appears ill or received antibiotics before cultures were obtained. Therefore, we have developed a culture (no pun intended) of acceptance in treating “culture-negative” sepsis. Recent reports suggest that up to 10 times as much antibiotic is used for culture-negative sepsis as for culture-proven sepsis.2,3 This practice must stop. The evidence for unintended harm caused by prolonged or unnecessary antibiotic exposure continues to mount and includes increased risk for obesity, atopy, and, for preterm infants, necrotizing enterocolitis, sepsis, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, and death.4 Why then do providers view sterile cultures with such skepticism?
The first reason is that providers have all-too-frequent experiences with cultures that are obtained incorrectly. Blood cultures collected inappropriately cannot be trusted, but such cultures, unfortunately, are a common problem. The recommendation is that a minimum of 1 mL of blood, either in 1 culture or divided into 2 0.5 mL cultures, be obtained from infants …

 

Pubblicato su NOW: 08-11-2018
Pubblicato sulla rivista: 01-10-2017
    Tagged under:
  • AAP