BACKGROUND: Based on the most recently published recommendations from the Committee on the Fetus and Newborn (COFN), three approaches currently exist for the use of risk factors to identify infants who are at increased risk of early-onset sepsis (EOS). Categorical risk factor assessments recommend laboratory testing and empiric antibiotic therapy for all infants born to mothers with a clinical diagnosis of chorioamnionitis. Risk assessments based on clinical condition recommend frequent examinations and close vital sign monitoring for infants born to mothers with chorioamnionitis. The Kaiser Permanente EOS risk calculator (SRC) is an example of the third approach, multivariate risk assessments. The aim of our study was to compare the three risk stratification approaches recommended by the COFN for management of chorioamnionitis-exposed infants.
METHODS: Retrospective study of 1,521 infants born ≥35 weeks to mothers with chorioamnionitis. Management recommendations of the SRC were compared to the recommendations of categorical risk assessment and risk assessment based on clinical condition (CCA).
RESULTS: Hypothetical application of SRC and CCA resulted in 79.6% and 76.8–85.1% respectively fewer infants allocated empiric antibiotic therapy. While CCA recommended enhanced observation for all chorioamnionitis-exposed infants, SRC recommended routine care without enhanced observation in 44.3% infants. For the six infants (0.39%) with EOS, SRC and CCA recommended empiric antibiotics only for three symptomatic infants.
CONCLUSION: The SRC and CCA can reduce antibiotic use but potentially delay antibiotic treatment. The SRC does not recommend enhanced observation with frequent and prolonged vital signs for >44% of chorioamnionitis-exposed infants.