This study evaluates the contact system, coagulation inhibitors and fibrinolysis in 23 full-term newborns with sepsis (8 with septic shock). The results were compared with a group of 20 healthy newborns. Blood samples were obtained at the time of clinical diagnosis and 3 days after the antibiotic therapy was started. The results showed that: severe infection was associated with activation of the contact system, depletion of anticoagulant proteins and elevation of C4b-binding protein levels. There was a shift in protein S to the complexed inactive form, and the thrombin-antithrombin complexes increased. These changes occurred in parallel to both activation and inhibition of fibrinolysis. These changes were more pronounced in the septic shock patients than in nonshock neonates. After therapy, this procoagulant state decreased among survivor patients while in those who died, the abnormalities in coagulation did not improve. Our study suggests that neonatal sepsis induces a hypercoagulable state that persists in nonsurvivor neonates despite a correct treatment.

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