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J Hosp Infect. 2005 Apr;59(4):292-8.

Short antibiotic prophylaxis for bacterial infections in a neonatal intensive care unit: a randomized controlled trial.

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  • 1Division of Neonatal Intensive Care, Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital, Rome, Italy. auriti@opbg.net

Abstract

We compared the effectiveness of a single dose and a three-day course of antibiotic prophylaxis in preventing bacterial infections in high-risk neonates. The study was a prospective, randomized controlled trial conducted in a 20-bed tertiary referral neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). A series of 130 neonates admitted consecutively to the NICU, fulfilling risk factors for infection, were assigned at random to receive intravenous antibiotic prophylaxis with ampicillin and netilmicin either in two daily doses for 72 h (three-day-administration group, 67 infants) or in a single bolus injection on admission (bolus group, 63 infants). Hospital-acquired infection, the main outcome measure, was defined as infection that developed at least 48 h after admission, and vertical infection (maternally transmitted) was considered to be present when clinical symptoms and abnormal laboratory findings became evident within 48 h of birth. Infections were considered as suspected when clinical and laboratory findings of infection were present, without positive cultures, and as confirmed when positive cultures were also present. No significant differences were found between the two groups of neonates studied in mean birth weight, gestational age or postnatal age on admission. The incidence of vertical infection was similar in the two groups (16/67, 23.9% vs. 14/63, 22.2%). Of the 130 newborns studied, 29 (22.3%) acquired at least one nosocomial infection during their NICU stay; total hospital-acquired infections, calculated as the incidence density of infection (the number of infective episodes divided by the number of days in the NICU), were less frequent among newborns who received the three-day course than the bolus (relative risk 0.69). This difference, although not statistically significant, depended on the different incidence density of confirmed nosocomial infections rather than on suspected infections (relative risk 0.59; 95% confidence interval 0.32-1.09; P=0.1). There were no significant differences between the two groups in overall mortality. A single bolus administration on admission is therefore likely to be as effective as a three-day course of antibiotic prophylaxis in preventing bacterial infection in high-risk infants admitted to an NICU.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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