, Volume 65, Issue 1, pp 63-78

Early diagnosis and treatment of neonatal sepsis

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Perinatally acquired bacterial neonatal sepsis is a low incidence, high risk disease with a relatively benign treatment. Accurate diagnosis is difficult because there is no definitive diagnostic test; even blood cultures have an unacceptably low sensitivity. Therefore, the clinician must accept that a number of neonates who do not have the disease will have treatment initiated for sepsis. In order to treat rapidly all infants with sepsis and to minimize therapy for those without infection, historical, clinical, and laboratory data can be used together in a management approach to achieve optimal results. A systemized approach using history, examination, sepsis screen laboratory tests, and cultures is presented to guide clinical management.