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Antibiotics for early-onset neonatal infection
This pathway covers antibiotics for the prevention and treatment of early-onset neonatal infection.
Early-onset neonatal bacterial infection (infection with onset within 72 hours of birth) is a significant cause of mortality and morbidity in newborn babies. Parent organisations and the scientific literature report that there can be unnecessary delays in recognising and treating sick babies. In addition, concern about the possibility of early-onset neonatal infection is common. This concern is an important influence on the care given to pregnant women and newborn babies. There is wide variation in how risk of infection is managed in healthy babies. The approach taken by the NHS needs to:
- prioritise the treatment of sick babies
- minimise the impact of management pathways on healthy women and babies
- use antibiotics wisely to avoid the development of resistance to antibiotics.
These drivers have not always been addressed consistently in the NHS, and the antibiotics for early-onset neonatal infection guideline was commissioned to ensure they would be addressed in future.
Five key principles underpin the recommendations in this guideline.
- Unless it is dangerous, families should be offered choice. The guideline includes recommendations to support families in making choices through provision of information and, where appropriate, reassurance.
- Intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis should be administered in a timely manner to all eligible women who choose it.
- Babies with suspected early-onset neonatal infection should be treated as quickly as possible.
- Antibiotic exposure should be minimised in babies who do not have an early-onset neonatal infection.
- An integrated system of clinical care is needed to allow full implementation of the guideline recommendations.
The NICE guidance that was used to create the pathway.
Antibiotics for early-onset neonatal infection: antibiotics for the prevention and treatment of early-onset neonatal infection. NICE clinical guideline CG149 (2012)
Effective interventions library
Successful effective interventions library details
The baseline and self-assessment tools are Excel spreadsheets that can be used by organisations to identify if they are in line with practice recommended in NICE guidance and to help them plan activity that will help them meet the recommendations.
Audit support provides ready-to-use criteria, including exceptions, definitions, suggested data sources and a data collection tool.
Costing support includes national cost impact reports that summarise the national costs and savings and discuss the assumptions used; costing templates to assess the impact on local budgets; and costing statements when the impact is not significant or impossible to quantify at a national level.
Learning resources are designed to support people to run workshops and for individual learning. They include clinical case scenarios, presentations for trainers and tests for participants.
Interviews that focus on practical actions to overcome specific implementation challenges. They are recorded by NICE with experts in the area, who were usually involved in guidance development.
Slide sets provide a framework for discussion and assist in local dissemination of the guidance. The slides contain the key messages from NICE guidance and can be tailored for local presentations.
Information for patients and the public
NICE produces booklets for patients and the public, called 'Understanding NICE guidance'. They summarise, in plain English, the recommendations that NICE makes to healthcare and other professionals.
NICE has written a booklet for patients and the public explaining its guidance on antibiotics for early-onset neonatal infection.
Patients and healthcare professionals have rights and responsibilities as set out in the NHS Constitution – all NICE guidance is written to reflect these. Treatment and care should take into account individual needs and preferences. People should have the opportunity to make informed decisions about their care and treatment, in partnership with their healthcare professionals. If someone does not have the capacity to make decisions, healthcare professionals should follow the Department of Health's advice on consent and the code of practice that accompanies the Mental Capacity Act. In Wales, healthcare professionals should follow advice on consent from the Welsh Government. If the person is under 16, healthcare professionals should follow the guidelines in Seeking consent: working with children.
Updates to this pathway
4 January 2013 Minor maintenance updates.
5 September 2012 Minor maintenance updates.
24 August 2012 Podcast added.
Risk factors for early-onset neonatal infection, including red flags
Invasive group B streptococcal infection in a previous baby
Maternal group B streptococcal colonisation, bacteriuria or infection in the current pregnancy
Prelabour rupture of membranes
Preterm birth following spontaneous labour (before 37 weeks' gestation)
Suspected or confirmed rupture of membranes for more than 18 hours in a preterm birth
Intrapartum fever higher than 38°C, or confirmed or suspected chorioamnionitis
Parenteral antibiotic treatment given to the woman for confirmed or suspected invasive bacterial infection (such as septicaemia) at any time during labour, or in the 24-hour periods before and after the birth [This does not refer to intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis]
Suspected or confirmed infection in another baby in the case of a multiple pregnancy
Clinical indicators of possible early-onset neonatal infection (observations and events in the baby), including red flags
Altered behaviour or responsiveness
Altered muscle tone (for example, floppiness)
Feeding difficulties (for example, feed refusal)
Feed intolerance, including vomiting, excessive gastric aspirates and abdominal distension
Abnormal heart rate (bradycardia or tachycardia)
Signs of respiratory distress
Respiratory distress starting more than 4 hours after birth
Hypoxia (for example, central cyanosis or reduced oxygen saturation level)
Jaundice within 24 hours of birth
Signs of neonatal encephalopathy
Need for cardio–pulmonary resuscitation
Need for mechanical ventilation in a preterm baby
Need for mechanical ventilation in a term baby
Persistent fetal circulation (persistent pulmonary hypertension)
Temperature abnormality (lower than 36°C or higher than 38°C) unexplained by environmental factors
Signs of shock
Unexplained excessive bleeding, thrombocytopenia, or abnormal coagulation (International Normalised Ratio greater than 2.0)
Oliguria persisting beyond 24 hours after birth
Altered glucose homeostasis (hypoglycaemia or hyperglycaemia)
Metabolic acidosis (base deficit of 10 mmol/litre or greater)
Local signs of infection (for example, affecting the skin or eye)
The level of gentamicin in the baby's bloodstream shortly after administration. The blood sample is usually taken about 1 hour after giving the drug. High peak concentrations of gentamicin are necessary to kill bacteria.
A process of measuring the concentration of a drug in the bloodstream, to avoid excessive levels that might be associated with adverse effects or to ensure adequate levels for therapeutic effect.
The level of gentamicin in the baby's bloodstream shortly before a further dose is given. High trough gentamicin concentrations may be associated with an increased risk of adverse effects.
Risk of early-onset neonatal infection
Risk of early-onset neonatal infection
Recognising risk factors for infection during pregnancy, labour and birthView the 'Recognising risk factors for infection during pregnancy, labour and birth' path
Recognising and assessing early-onset neonatal infection after the birthView the 'Recognising and assessing early-onset neonatal infection after the birth' path
Investigations and antibiotics for suspected or confirmed infectionView the 'Investigations and antibiotics for suspected or confirmed early-onset neonatal infection' path
Completion of treatment, care setting, discharge and follow-upView the 'Completion of treatment, care setting, discharge and follow-up after early-onset neonatal infection' path
Paths in this pathway
- Recognising risk factors for infection during pregnancy, labour and birth
- Recognising and assessing early-onset neonatal infection after the birth
- Investigations and antibiotics for suspected or confirmed early-onset neonatal infection
- Antibiotic treatment and monitoring for suspected or confirmed early-onset neonatal infection
- Antibiotic treatment and monitoring for suspected meningitis in newborn babies in a neonatal unit
- Completion of treatment, care setting, discharge and follow-up after early-onset neonatal infection
Pathway created: August 2012 Last updated: January 2013
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