Aim To examine the prevalence of the definitions of the systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS), sepsis, severe sepsis, and septic shock during the first three days of life.
Methods Retrospective cohort study including all term neonates hospitalized at our neonatal intensive care unit within the first 24 hours of life from 2004 to 2010. SIRS and the different stages of sepsis were defined according to the International Pediatric Sepsis Consensus Conference.
Results 476 neonates included had a median birth weight of 3250g (range 1250–5300g), a median gestational age of 38 weeks (37–43 weeks), and 258 (54%) were male. Of 476 neonates included 116 (24%) had SIRS, 61 (13%) had sepsis, 55 (12%) had severe sepsis, and 28 (6%) had septic shock. Among 116 neonates with SIRS the single diagnostic criteria were fulfilled as follows: 37/116 neonates (32%) had fever or hypothermia, 92 (79%) had a white blood cell count >34000/µl and/or an immature to total neutrophil ratio >0.1, 115 (99%) had respiratory and 40 (34%) cardiocirculatory symptoms.
Conclusion A quarter of all term neonates hospitalized in our neonatal intensive care unit had SIRS during the first three days of life, half of them had sepsis. The vast majority of infants with sepsis had severe sepsis.