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The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines recommend intravenous antibiotics to be discontinued at 36 hours in asymptomatic, low-risk babies with negative blood cultures and reassuring inflammatory markers.1 Despite this, national practice remains varied.
On contacting all 155 neonatal units in England, 91 units reported using a 36-hour blood culture threshold. Fifty-nine (38%) units reported awaiting 48-hour cultures, with 235 972 babies born in these units in 2016–2017.2 A further five units awaited 24-hour cultures (table 1).
The barriers to 36-hour culture results may be varied, often involving transport to central laboratories and access to reporting/analysing systems.3 However, stopping antibiotics at 36 hours could …
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