Role of multiple site blood cultures to document the clearance of bacteremia in neonates

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To evaluate the usefulness of two-site blood cultures for the documentation of bacterial clearance during initial treatment of culture proven neonatal sepsis.


Clinical data were prospectively collected for 216 neonates who had blood cultures drawn for evaluation of possible sepsis. A positive diagnostic blood culture was followed by repeat blood cultures from two different peripheral sites after initiation of antimicrobial therapy.


Follow-up two-site cultures were drawn on 25 occasions at a median interval of 3 days after start of antimicrobial therapy for culture-proven sepsis in 15 neonates. On 12 occasions, follow-up blood cultures were both negative. On eight occasions, follow-up blood cultures grew the same organisms from both sites. However, follow-up two-site cultures on five occasions in four of the 15 infants grew organisms from one site but not the second site.


Two-site blood cultures seem necessary to document bacterial clearance in response to antimicrobial therapy for culture-proven sepsis, and may help determine the appropriate duration of antimicrobial therapy by reducing false-negative results.

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