European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 123, Issue 4, pp 243–254 | Cite as

Septicemia in the newborn due to gram-negative bacilli

Risk factors, clinical symptoms, and hematologic changes
  • U. Töllner
  • F. Pohlandt


The case histories of 17 newborns developing septic shock due to gram-negative bacilli were studied for pre- and perinatal risk factors, clinical symptoms, and hematologic changes.

Immaturity, resuscitation procedures, and hypothermia on admission were found to be the risk factors most frequently preceding septicemia. A skin color fading and changing from reddish-pink to yellow-green was the most early noticeable clinical symptom in all patients. The total leukocyte counts as well as the relative proportion of bands increased significantly at the onset of illness. When septicemia advanced, a marked drop of leukocytes was found, while the relative proportion of bands increased further. Only 1 in 12 cases showed a decrease in the platelet counts at the height of septicemia.

A procedure for the early diagnosis of a neonatal septicemia is proposed: (1) Registration of perinatal risk factors. (2) With perinatal risk factors a skilled and attentive clinical observation is necessary. Particular attention should be paid to changes of skin color. (3) White blood cell picture: (a) every day in patients with perinatal risk factors and (b) every 6 h in patients showing suspicious symptoms.

Key words

Newborn Septicemia Gram-negative bacilli Risk factors Symptoms Leukocyte counts Platelet counts 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • U. Töllner
    • 1
  • F. Pohlandt
    • 1
  1. 1.The Section of Neonatology, Department of PediatricsUniversity of UlmUlmGermany

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