Selective use of vancomycin to prevent coagulase-negative staphylococcal nosocomial bacteremia in high risk very low birth weight infants

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To determine whether vancomycin added to parental nutrition (PN) fluids could prevent nosocomial infections in very low birth weight newborns and which infants would benefit most from prophylaxis.


Double blind, randomized controlled study.

Setting and study population.

Very low birth weight infants receiving PN in a tertiary neonatal intensive care unit.


Thirty-eight infants with and without central vascular catheters were randomized to receive no medication or 25 μg/ml vancomycin added to PN for the duration of the infant's PN requirements.


The addition of 25 μg/ml vancomycin to PN prevented bacteremia in very low birth weight infants receiving PN. There was a significant reduction in the number of coagulase-negative staphylococcal (CONS) bacteremias (defined as isolation of the same organism from two positive blood cultures) during PN (5 vs. 0; P = 0.037) as well as the total number of bacteremias and fungemias (9 vs. 1; P = 0.036). The total number of hospital days (108 ± 13 vs. 76 ± 6; P = 0.039) were reduced in infants receiving vancomycin. Infants with birth weights of <1000 g who received corticosteroids for treatment of chronic lung disease benefitted most from treatment. No vancomycin-resistant strains of CONS or enterococci were detected during the study period.


Prophylactic treatment with vancomycin effectively prevented CONS bacteremia under the conditions of the study. Its use was most effective in infants with birth weights of <1000 g.

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