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Am J Clin Pathol. 1985 Feb;83(2):227-9.

Endotoxinemia and thrombocytopenia during neonatal necrotizing enterocolitis.


Thrombocytopenia frequently complicates neonatal necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and has been postulated to result from absorption of bacterial endotoxins from the injured gut. The authors tested blood obtained during 47 episodes of NEC for endotoxin-like activity (ELA), using a Limulus amoebocyte lysate assay and found 23 patients (49%) had positive results. Concentrations of ELA in plasma ranged from 0.26 to 300 ng/mL of Escherichia coli equivalent activity, with a geometric mean of 1.1 ng/mL. Serial platelet measurements were available from 40 infants, 11 (28%) of whom had nadir counts below 100,000/mm3 following NEC onset. Nine of 19 infants (47%) with ELA in plasma and only 2 of 21 without (9.5%, P less than 0.05) developed thrombocytopenia, suggesting that endotoxinemia may indeed contribute to platelet depletion during NEC.

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