Background and aims Red cell distribution width (RDW) is a measure of the variability in the size of red blood cells. RDW has been shown to be associated with mortality in adult patients with severe sepsis. However, RDW changes in neonatal sepsis prognosis has not been studied. We evaluated the RDW values of neonatal sepsis from our retrospective data.
Methods Complete blood count results were analysed retrospectively from 63 infants diagnosed with culture positive sepsis in Baskent University Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The RDW difference between 1st and 3rd days and the ratio of the difference and 1st day RDW (change of percentage) were calculated.
Results Gestational age, birth weight and Apgar scores at 1 and 5 min, resulting in mortality and improving infants showed no statistical difference (p > 0.05). The change of RDW between 1st and 3rd days was not significant (p = 0.74). Percentage change of RDW values with mortality rates did not differ (p = 0.44-p = 0.85).
Conclusions RDW could be elevated in conditions with ineffective eritropoesis or any disease with dsetruction with red blood cells. During sepsis, RDW could be found increased because of the effect of proinflammatory cytokines on red cell production. In neonatal sepsis, RDW change was not found associated with prognosis. Elevated and variable RDW levels could be explained because of different postmenstrual and gestational ages like preterm infants.