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J Pediatr Surg. 2000 Oct;35(10):1462-7.

Rectosigmoid pHi monitoring during experimental necrotizing enterocolitis.

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Helsinki University Hospital for Children and Adolescents, Finland.



Gastric or rectosigmoid intramural pH (pHi) is considered a reliable indicator of splanchnic perfusion. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether rectosigmoid pHi reflects the severity of bowel damage in experimental necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).


A total of 36 neonatal piglets, (median age, 3; range, 1 to 11 days; median weight, 2.5; range, 1.2 to 3.8 kg), were anesthetized, ventilated mechanically, and had invasive monitoring of hemodynamics. A sigmoid tonometer was inserted into the rectosigmoid colon. Enterocolitis was induced in 27 piglets by intraluminal injection of casein-d-gluconate (16.0 mL/kg) into terminal 100 cm of the ileum. Nine control piglets received an equal amount of intraluminal saline. NEC was graded macroscopically as follows: 0, no changes; 1, mild; 2, moderate; and 3, severe. Histology was evaluated according to Chiu scale from 0 to 5.


The macroscopical bowel injury in caseine-injected piglets was as follows: grade 3 (n = 6), grade 2 (n = 9), grade 1 (n = 12). All control piglets showed macroscopically normal bowel (grade 0). All affected bowels showed histologic changes (Chiu's scale 2 to 4). All study animals had an initial drop of pHi after injection of casein or saline. In control piglets and those with mild NEC (grade 1) pHi tended to return to preinjection level. In animals with moderate or severe NEC (grade 2 to 3) the initial drop was deeper and the pHi continued to decrease significantly throughout the experiment (P < .05). In the arterial pH and mean blood pressure there were no statistically significant differences between piglets with no NEC and mild NEC, and these with moderate or severe NEC.


Drop in rectosigmoid pHi was the most sensitive and earliest sign of severe mucosal necrosis of ileum in this experimental NEC model.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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