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Ann Trop Paediatr. 2006 Jun;26(2):133-5.

Persistent umbilical discharge in infants and children.

Author information

1
Division of Paediatric Surgery, Department of Surgery, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria, Nigeria.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Umbilical discharge is not an unusual presentation in infants and children. However, the evaluation and management are rarely discussed.

METHOD:

A retrospective review of 18 patients presenting with persistent umbilical discharge over a period of 22 years, excluding neonates with omphalitis.

RESULTS:

The patients' ages ranged between 11 days and 9 years. Presentation was usually discharge of clear, serous or purulent fluid or faecal matter from the umbilicus, sometimes dating back to the neonatal period. Evaluation consisted of bacteriology, fistulogram (one patient) and histopathology. The cause of discharge was patent vitello-intestinal duct in 11 patients, umbilical granuloma in three, umbilical sinus in two and patent urachus and osteomyelitis of the ischium in one each. Definitive treatment was exploration and complete excision of the lesion and antibiotics. Two patients with patent vitello-intestinal duct died, one before surgery from hypokalaemia and sepsis, and the other from anaesthetic complications.

CONCLUSION:

There is a need for early referral and treatment in patients with persistent umbilical discharge. Conservative treatment is usually not successful as the common causes would normally require complete excision.

PMID:
16709332
DOI:
10.1179/146532806X107485
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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