Duration of vancomycin treatment for coagulase-negative Staphylococcus sepsis in very low birth weight infants



Professor Nehama Linder MD, Department of Neonatology, Rabin Medical Center, Beilinson Campus, Petach Tikva, 49100, Israel.

Tel.: +972 3937 7474

Fax: +972 3937 7469

E-mail: nehama.linder@gmail.com



Vancomycin is widely used to treat late onset coagulase-negative Staphylococcus (CoNS) sepsis in very low birth weight (VLBW) infants. Although vancomycin is associated with a risk of toxicity and bacterial resistance, the appropriate duration of use has not been established. This study sought to investigate the association between the duration of vancomycin therapy and clinical outcome in VLBW infants with CoNS sepsis.


The files of all VLBW infants treated for CoNS sepsis at a tertiary paediatric medical centre from 1995–2003 were reviewed for clinical data, laboratory variables and outcome. Only patients with two positive diagnostic blood cultures were included. The findings were analyzed by duration of vancomycin treatment after the last positive blood culture.


The study cohort included 126 infants, 48 treated for 5 days, 32 for 6–7 days, 31 for 8–10 days and 15 for >10 days. There were no differences among the groups in perinatal characteristics, central catheter dwell time, laboratory data including haematologic, renal and liver function tests, or rate of complications of prematurity. Five infants were diagnosed with infective endocarditis or aortic thrombi and were treated for >10 days. CoNS sepsis recurred in two infants (1.6%). No toxicity of vancomycin treatment was observed.


In VLBW infants with uncomplicated CoNS sepsis, treatment with vancomycin for 5 days after the last positive blood culture appears to be associated with a satisfactory outcome and no adverse effects. A well-controlled prospective multicentre study is needed to confirm these findings.