Sepsis impact on cerebral palsy risk in neonates and advocating for safer medical practices

In babies with normal cranial ultrasounds, sepsis quadrupled the risk of cerebral palsy” … Janet Rennie, MD, Neonatologist, London, UK.

Greg Vigna, MD, JD, national pharmaceutical injury attorney explains, “Infants born weighing less than 1500 grams are extremely vulnerable for hospital-acquired infections and central-line associated bloodstream infections are more common in NICUs than adult or pediatric ICUs.”

What did “Perinatal infection is an important risk factor for cerebral palsy in very-low-birthweight infants” in Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology 2000, 42: 364-367 say?

“Regardless of ultrasound appearance (brain), the relative risk of cerebral palsy increased approximately fourfold with a neonatal history of sepsis.”

“It indicates an important role of perinatal infection in the development of CP in very-low-birthweight infants, raising the possibility of reducing the incidence of CP by preventing infections.”

“Infants born weighing less than 1500 grams are extremely vulnerable for hospital-acquired infections and central-line associated bloodstream infections are more common in NICUs than ICUs.” — Greg Vigna, MD, JD

Dr. Vigna states, “Nurses and other staff in neonatal intensive care units work daily to try to decrease the hospitals central line-associated bloodstream infections by utilizing Care Bundles Interventions that may include iodine preps, ChloraPrep, and best practice central line maintenance.”

Dr. Vigna continues, “Understanding the long-term disability secondary to cerebral palsy that is associated with neonatal sepsis leads to the conclusion that there is no justification for using Polyurethane PICC lines or midlines, as polyurethane does nothing to prevent bacterial adhesion to the catheter tubing that leads to bacterial colonization and infection of the line, which leads to sepsis. There are safer ‘hydrophilic PICC lines’ that reduce bacterial adhesion to the line and formation of blood clots associated with the line, which have been shown to substantially reduce the risk of sepsis.”

What is sepsis? Multiple organ damage from inflammation as a result of infection that may result in organ damage to the brain, kidney, heart, liver, and lung.

What is septic shock? A life-threatening condition that causes dangerously low blood pressure due to infection that may result in amputations of fingers and toes, brain damage, kidney failure, ventilator dependence, oxygen dependence, and nerve damage.

What is a deep vein thrombosis? Blood clots in the deep venous system, referred to as a DVT, that have the potential to break off and travel to the lung. This is called a pulmonary embolism.

Dr. Vigna concludes, “There are PICC lines, central lines, and midlines on the market that are obsolete and have been obsolete for nearly a decade as they are not designed to reduce the risk of blood clots and infection. There is no justification for the use of old, obsolete, Polyurethane PICC or polyurethane midlines, especially in neonates, because of the increased risks of sepsis which may cause cerebral palsy.”

Dr. Vigna is a California and Washington DC lawyer who represents those with serious injuries cause by defective medical devices including PICC lines, midlines, central lines, and MedPorts. He represents the injured with the Ben Martin Law Group, a national pharmaceutical injury law firm in Dallas, Texas. The attorneys are product liability and medical malpractice attorneys, and they represent the most injured across the country.


Greg Vigna, MD, JD
Vigna Law Group
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