Background Early-onset neonatal sepsis (EOS) is a serious and potentially life-threatening disease in newborns. C reactive protein (CRP) is the most used laboratory biomarker for the detection of EOS. Little is known about normal reference values of CRP during the perinatal period as several factors are able to influence it.
Objectives To identify an appropriate range of CRP values in healthy term newborns during the first 48 hours of life.
Design CRP determination was performed in 859 term newborns at 12, 24 and 48 hours of life. Mode of delivery, maternal vaginal culture results, intrapartum antimicrobial prophylaxis (IAP) and other perinatal variables were recorded.
Results CRP mean values were significantly higher at 48 hours (4.10 mg/L) than at both 24 (2.30 mg/L) and 12 hours of life (0.80 mg/L). CRP levels were affected by a number of perinatal proinflammatory variables. In particular, CRP mean values were significantly higher in babies born by vaginal delivery (3.80 mg/L) and emergency caesarean section (3.60 mg/L) than in babies born by elective caesarean section (2.10 mg/L). Completed course of IAP led to lower CRP mean values (2.90 mg/L) than IAP not completed (3.80 mg/L) or not performed (4.70 mg/L).
Conclusions Postnatal age and mode of delivery significantly influence CRP values. Reliable reference values are crucial in order to obtain an adequate diagnostic accuracy.
- C-reactive protein
- early-onset sepsis
- intrapartum antimicrobial prophylaxis.
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Funding Grants from EURAIBI (Europe Against Infant Brain Injury) Foundation.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent Guardian consent obtained.
Ethics approval Local ethics board of the University Hospital Santa Maria alle Scotte, Siena.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Correction notice This paper has been amended since it was published Online First. Owing to a scripting error, some of the publisher names in the references were replaced with ’BMJ Publishing Group'. This only affected the full text version, not the PDF. We have since corrected these errors and the correct publishers have been inserted into the references.