Send to

Choose Destination
Pediatrics. 2011 Aug;128(2):e348-57. doi: 10.1542/peds.2010-3338. Epub 2011 Jul 18.

Impact of sepsis on neurodevelopmental outcome in a Swiss National Cohort of extremely premature infants.

Author information

NICU and PICU, Department of Pediatrics, Inselspital, University of Bern, 3010 Bern, Switzerland.



Neonatal sepsis causes high mortality and morbidity in preterm infants, but less is known regarding the long-term outcome after sepsis. This study aimed to determine the impact of sepsis on neurodevelopment at 2 years' corrected age in extremely preterm infants.


This was a multicenter Swiss cohort study on infants born between 2000 and 2007 at 24(0/7) to 27(6/7) weeks' gestational age. Neurodevelopmental outcome was assessed with the Bayley Scales of Infant Development-II. Neurodevelopmental impairment (NDI) was defined as a Mental or Psychomotor Developmental Index lower than 70, cerebral palsy (CP), or visual or auditory impairment.


Of 541 infants, 136 (25%) had proven sepsis, 169 (31%) had suspected sepsis, and 236 (44%) had no signs of infection. CP occurred in 14 of 136 (10%) infants with proven sepsis compared with 10 of 236 (4%) uninfected infants (odds ratio [OR]: 2.90 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.22-6.89]; P = .016). NDI occurred in 46 of 134 (34%) infants with proven sepsis compared with 55 of 235 (23%) uninfected infants (OR: 1.85 [95% CI: 1.12-3.05]; P = .016). Multivariable analysis confirmed that proven sepsis independently increased the risk of CP (OR: 3.23 [95% CI: 1.23-8.48]; P = .017) and NDI (OR: 1.69 [95% CI: 0.96-2.98]; P = .067). In contrast, suspected sepsis was not associated with neurodevelopmental outcome (P > .05). The presence of bronchopulmonary dysplasia, pathologic brain ultrasonography, retinopathy, and sepsis predicted the risk of NDI (P < .0001).


Proven sepsis significantly contributes to NDI in extremely preterm infants, independent of other risk factors. Better strategies aimed at reducing the incidence of sepsis in this highly vulnerable population are needed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center