Late-onset Sepsis in Preterm Infants Can Be Detected Preclinically by Fecal Volatile Organic Compound Analysis: A Prospective, Multicenter Cohort Study

Daniel J. C. Berkhout*, Britt J. van Keulen, Hendrik J. Niemarkt, Jet R. Bessem, Willem P. de Boode, Veerle Cossey, Neil Hoogenes, Christiaan V. Hulzebos, Ellen Klaver, Peter Andriessen, Anton H. van Kaam, Boris W. Kramer, Richard A. van Lingen, Aaron Schouten, Johannes B. van Goudoever, Daniel C. Vijlbrief, Mirjam M. van Weissenbruch, Alfian N. Wicaksono, James A. Covington, Marc A. BenningaNanne K. H. de Boer, Tim G. J. de Meij

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Web of Science)


Background. The intestinal microbiota has increasingly been considered to play a role in the etiology of late-onset sepsis (LOS). We hypothesize that early alterations in fecal volatile organic compounds (VOCs), reflecting intestinal microbiota composition and function, allow for discrimination between infants developing LOS and controls in a preclinical stage.

Methods. In 9 neonatal intensive care units in the Netherlands and Belgium, fecal samples of preterm infants born at a gestational age

Results. In total, 843 preterm born infants (gestational age

Conclusions. Fecal VOC analysis allowed for preclinical discrimination between infants developing LOS and matched controls. Early detection of LOS may provide clinicians a window of opportunity for timely initiation of individualized therapeutic strategies aimed at prevention of sepsis, possibly improving LOS-related morbidity and mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-77
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • neonatology
  • volatile organic compound
  • late-onset sepsis
  • high-field asymmetric waveform ion mobility spectrometry
  • electronic nose
  • GUT

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