July 1983

Systemic Bacterial Infections in Neonatal Deaths

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Perinatal Medicine, Departments of Pediatrics and Pathology, University of Alabama School of Medicine, Birmingham.

Am J Dis Child. 1983;137(7):645-649. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1983.02140330029008

• Bacteria were identified in 126 blood and CSF cultures obtained in 311 consecutive neonatal deaths (41%). These postmortem cultures were of diagnostic value, providing the sole means for definitive bacteriologic diagnosis in 82 (65%) of the 126 infected infants. Similarity of organisms found in specimens before and after death (identical in 25 of 26), similar identity of organisms identified by histologic Gram's stain and culture (the same in 48 of 49), and the identical nature of organisms identified from blood and CSF sites (the same in 43 of 43) support the validity of these cultures. Bacterial infection remains a serious problem in neonatal intensive care. The scope of this problem may be underestimated if postmortem cultures are not obtained.

(Am J Dis Child 1983;137:645-649)