Neonatal sepsis is an independent risk factor for the development of central nervous system injury, so preterm newborn, who is more exposed to infections, has a higher neurological risk. This research wanted to examine whether and how sepsis could influence preterm newborns' neurodevelopmental outcome.
We conducted an observational retrospective study with case-control design, recruiting preterm infants with gestational age ≤ 32 weeks or birth weight ≤ 1500 g. 42 patients joined the study, 21 with diagnosis of sepsis (cases: with sepsis) and 21 without infections (controls: no sepsis). We compared the two groups (no sepsis; with sepsis) means with regard to the auxological and neurodevelopmental outcomes.
Neuroimaging and neurodevelopmental outcome data analysis shows that the comparison between the means in the 2 groups (no sepsis; with sepsis) was statistically significant (p-value < 0.05).
The results prove the role of sepsis in determining a greater neurocognitive impairment in this category of newborns. Anyway, this is a preliminary research which needs to be supported by further studies with a larger cross-section to confirm the hypothesis.