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J Perinatol. 2015 Aug;35(8):607-11. doi: 10.1038/jp.2015.23. Epub 2015 Apr 9.

Definitive peritoneal drainage in the extremely low birth weight infant with spontaneous intestinal perforation: predictors and hospital outcomes.

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Pediatric Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, USA.
1] Pediatric Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, USA [2] Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Atlanta, GA, USA.



To identify characteristics associated with definitive peritoneal drainage (PD) in the extremely low birth weight infant diagnosed with spontaneous intestinal perforation (SIP). We also sought to determine whether patients requiring a second operation (salvage laparotomy) following PD are at increased risk of adverse hospital outcomes, including increased times to full enteral feedings and decreased 30-day survival.


We performed a retrospective chart review of infants with a birth weight <1000 g who underwent PD for SIP at a single tertiary neonatal unit from 2003 to 2012. Infants with signs of necrotizing enterocolitis on abdominal plain films, including pneumatosis intestinalis, portal venous gas or fixed, dilated small loops of bowel were excluded from the study. Perinatal and perioperative data and short-term neonatal outcomes prior to hospital discharge were collected. Comparison was made between two groups: infants treated with definitive PD vs infants requiring salvage laparotomy. Data were analyzed using independent samples t-test and Cochrane-Mantel-Haenszel.


Eighty-nine infants who fit all inclusion criteria were identified during the study period. PD was definitive in 67 (75.3%) patients. Patients who had definitive PD vs those who required salvage laparotomy were significantly more likely to present at a later day of life (9.6±5.3 vs 5.6±2.7, P<0.0001) and to have a lower birth weight (724.6 g±132.5 vs 809.2 g±143.1, P=0.02). The administration of indomethacin or ibuprofen prior to the diagnosis of SIP was also associated with definitive PD (74.6% vs 50%, P=0.03). Comparison of feeding outcomes revealed that the time to achieve full enteral feeds was significantly longer for those who underwent a salvage laparotomy (95.9±30.2 vs 60.4±30.4 days, P<0.005). Short-term survival (>30 days) was not significantly different between the two groups.


PD was definitive therapy for the majority of neonates included in this study who were referred for surgical evaluation of SIP. Our data point to trends in being able to identify infants with SIP who are at risk for salvage laparotomy following PD, and thus, adverse nutritional outcomes. Larger, prospective studies are needed to further evaluate this specific patient population and identify those patients who are likely to succeed with PD following the diagnosis of SIP.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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