Risk factors of neonatal sepsis in India: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Shruti Murthy, Myron Anthony Godinho, Vasudeva Guddattu, Leslie Edward Simon Lewis, N. Sreekumaran Nair

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


Background The incidence of neonatal sepsis in India is the highest in the world. Evidence regarding its risk factors can guide clinical practice and prevention strategies. Objective To review, assess and synthesize the available literature from India on the risk factors of sepsis among neonates. Methodology A systematic review was conducted. We searched PubMed, CINAHL, Scopus, Web of Science, Popline, IndMed, Indian Science Abstracts and Google Scholar from inception up to March 23, 2018 to identify observational analytical studies reporting on risk factors of laboratory-confirmed neonatal sepsis in India. Two authors independently screened studies (title, abstract and full-text stages), extracted data, and assessed quality. A random-effects meta-analysis was performed as substantial heterogeneity was anticipated. Subgroup and sensitivity analyses were additionally performed. Effect size in our review included odds ratio and standardized mean difference. Results Fifteen studies were included from 11,009 records, of which nine were prospective in design. Birthweight and gestational age at delivery were the most frequently reported factors. On meta-analyses, it was found that male sex (OR: 1.3, 95% CI: 1.02, 1.68), out born neonates (OR: 5.5, 95% CI: 2.39, 12.49), need for artificial ventilation (OR: 5.61; 95% CI: 8.21, 41.18), gestational age <37 weeks (OR: 2.05; 95% CI:1.40, 2.99) and premature rupture of membranes (OR:11.14, 95% CI: 5.54, 22.38) emerged as risk factors for neonatal sepsis. Included studies scored lowest on exposure assessment and confounding adjustment, which limited comparability. Inadequacy and variation in definitions and methodology affected the quality of included studies and increased heterogeneity. Conclusions Male neonates, outborn admissions, need for artificial ventilation, gestational age <37 weeks and premature rupture of membranes are risk factors for sepsis among neonates in India. Robustly designed and reported research is urgently needed to confirm the role of other risk factors of neonatal sepsis in India.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0215683
JournalPLoS One
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 01-04-2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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