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Int J Pediatr. 2013;2013:768784. doi: 10.1155/2013/768784. Epub 2013 Jan 10.

Microcirculatory changes in term newborns with suspected infection: an observational prospective study.

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Division of Neonatology Perinatal Center, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich, 80337 Munich, Germany.


Background. In adults severely disturbed microcirculatory flow can be observed by Orthogonal Polarized Spectral (OPS) imaging techniques during sepsis. Therefore we set out to assess for microcirculatory changes in term newborns with suspected early onset infection using OPS. Methods. OPS images were obtained prospectively from the vascular bed of the ear conch and upper arm of 47 newborns on their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd day of life. OPS sequences were analyzed semiquantitatively offline and blinded to clinical status of the infant. Flow in vessels was classified as continuous or noncontinuous flow and given as proportion of total vessels per image as in the studies in adults. Results. The proportion of vessels with continuous flow was significantly lower in the infants with infection (69% [56-81] versus 90% [87-94] (P = 0.0003)). None of the infants with infection was in shock or severely septic. Conclusion. In term neonates the microcirculatory flow is impaired in a large proportion of vessels even in mild to moderate infection. These changes can be observed at the onset of disease at the external ear, an optimal site for microcirculatory measurements in term infants.

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