Published: 2021-05-25

Role of C-reactive protein and gastric aspirate polymorphs in early onset neonatal sepsis

Sukhdeep Kaur, Kunwar Pal Singh


Background: Neonatal septicemia is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the neonates. It presented a diagnostic challenge in the resource poor setting of most of the developing countries of world.

Methods: This prospective observational study included all term and preterm babies inborn and outborn referred cases. We included neonates less than 7 days of age with clinical suspicion of sepsis. Significant values for screening tests were taken as total leucocyte count (TLC) of >25,000/<5000, C-reactive protein>0.6 mg/dl and gastric aspirate polymorphs>5 per HPF. Sepsis screen was considered positive for two or more positive tests. Blood culture was used as the gold standard. The statistical analysis was done using SPSS 22.0 version.

Results: A total number of 60 subjects were included in the study with 45 (75%) as outborn neonates. Most of them presented with tachypnea followed by difficulty in feeding and lethargy. Significant p values were observed using CRP and gastric aspirate polymorphs as independent sepsis screening markers and when combined together (p<0.001).

Conclusions: Sepsis screen in neonates is required for detection of infection as blood culture may be negative and even positive result takes time. CRP showed high sensitivity. Gastric aspirate cytology with its relatively high specificity and negative predictive values serves as a good screening tool to rule out neonates unaffected by sepsis. When all the three parameters were combined together, sensitivity and specificity increased to 100% and 91.67% respectively with p values of 0.001.


Sepsis, Neonates, CRP, TLC, Blood culture

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