Aims: The aims of this study were to compare rates of late-onset sepsis (LOS) in very preterm or very low birthweight infants before and after relocation to a new nursery and to determine risk factors for LOS.
Methods: The study was undertaken at The Royal Women's Hospital, Melbourne, which relocated to a new site in June 2008. Infants with birthweight <1500 g or <32 weeks' gestation, born between July and December 2007 (n= 149) and July and December 2008 (n= 152) were included. Each septic episode was identified from blood cultures taken from patients >48 h after birth and was categorised as definite, probable, uncertain or no sepsis.
Results: Overall, 117 infants had 218 septic episodes. The proportion of infants with clinical LOS decreased from 29.5% in 2007 to 22.4% in 2008 after the relocation, although this was not statistically significant. There was a significant (P < 0.05) reduction in the severity (definite LOS = most severe) of sepsis in 2008 compared with 2007, and in rates of coagulase-negative staphylococcal LOS. Significant risk factors for LOS were: lower birthweight (g; mean −351, 95% confidence interval (CI) −446, −256); lower gestational age (weeks; mean −2.3, 95% CI −2.8, −1.7) and presence of a percutaneous inserted central catheter (odds ratio (OR) 2.56, 95% CI 1.03, 6.67).
Conclusions: There was a significant reduction in the severity of LOS in very preterm and/or very low birthweight infants that correlated with the relocation from the old to new nursery. Smaller and more immature infants with percutaneous central catheters were more at risk.