Role of Anaerobic Blood Cultures in Neonatal Bacteremia

Nathan Messbarger, Kari Neemann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Background: Evaluation for neonatal sepsis routinely includes performing both aerobic and anaerobic blood cultures despite our lack of knowledge of the true incidence of anaerobic bacteremia in this age group and the consequences of not performing these paired cultures. Methods: We performed a retrospective review of all blood cultures performed for neonates in a children's hospital. Clinically significant pathogens were defined as microorganisms that rarely are considered to be contaminants, that were recovered from multiple blood cultures or sites, or were considered significant according to the patient's attending physician. The chart of every patient with positive culture results was reviewed for patient characteristics. Results: A total of 662 culture sets among 403 patients were obtained between November 1, 2013, and April 30, 2015. A clinically significant organism was isolated from 64 (9.7%) culture sets from 25 patients (1.9% contamination rate). A total of 56 organisms were isolated; 35 (62.5%) grew from both the aerobic and anaerobic bottles, 19 (33.9%) grew from the anaerobic bottle alone, and 2 (3.6%) grew from the aerobic bottle alone. One (0.2%) obligate anaerobic bacterium (Clostridium symbiosum) was identified. Conclusions: Although the incidence of anaerobic bacteremia in neonates is rare, anaerobic culture remains important in this population, given the increased yield of both aerobic and facultative anaerobic organisms isolated from anaerobic blood culture bottles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E65-E69
JournalJournal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018


  • anaerobic
  • bacteremia
  • blood cultures
  • neonate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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