JOGNN: Use of an Early Onset-Sepsis Calculator to Decrease Unnecessary NICU Admissions and Increase Exclusive Breastfeeding

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effects of use of the Kaiser Neonatal Early-Onset Sepsis Calculator (NEOSC) on NICU admissions, laboratory testing, antibiotic exposure, and exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) rates in full-term neonates exposed to chorioamnionitis.

DESIGN: Quality improvement project with review of retrospective data.

SETTING: In this single-site, community hospital with approximately 4,000 births per year, all neonates exposed to chorioamnionitis required NICU admission, laboratory evaluation, and empiric antibiotics.

PARTICIPANTS: Term neonates born to mothers diagnosed with chorioamnionitis identified through the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision codes based on the discharge diagnosis.

INTERVENTION: The baseline retrospective analysis included calculation of sepsis risk with the Kaiser NEOSC through a chart review of neonates exposed to chorioamnionitis from January 1, 2015, to December 31, 2016. We compared the risk for sepsis with actual laboratory testing and antibiotic use and examined EBF before implementation of the use of the NEOSC. Implementation began January 2017; postintervention data were examined at 6 months and 1 year. All cases of neonates exposed to chorioamnionitis after the intervention were reviewed for use of the NEOSC, NICU admission/readmission for sepsis, laboratory testing, use of antibiotics, and EBF.

RESULTS: In the 12 months after NEOSC use was implemented, NICU admissions, laboratory testing, and antibiotic use decreased. Among all neonates exposed to chorioamnionitis after implementation (N = 74), 68 (93%) were not admitted to the NICU, and only 8 (11%) required laboratory evaluation. Rates of EBF in neonates exposed to chorioamnionitis increased from less than 10% to greater than 50% after implementation. The length of the NICU stay for neonates exposed to chorioamnionitis decreased from an average of 138 to 12 days with no negative consequences.

CONCLUSION: Most neonates exposed to chorioamnionitis appeared well and did not require NICU admission, laboratory testing, or antibiotic therapy. Rates of EBF improved after use of NEOSC was implemented. The practice change helped prevent adverse consequences, such as painful interventions and separation of the mother and neonate. No neonates were readmitted for sepsis.

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Reference: Bridges, Margie et al. Use of an Early Onset-Sepsis Calculator to Decrease Unnecessary NICU Admissions and Increase Exclusive Breastfeeding. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing. 48.3 (2019): 372-382. DOI: