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World J Clin Cases. 2018 Dec 26;6(16):1101-1110. doi: 10.12998/wjcc.v6.i16.1101.

Complications of newborn enterostomies.

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Department of Pediatric Surgery, University Hospital Frankfurt, Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main, Frankfurt 60590, Germany.
Department of Pediatric Surgery, University Hospital Frankfurt, Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main, Frankfurt 60590, Germany.



To evaluate the occurrence and severity of enterostomy complications in newborns suffering from different intestinal disorders.


A 10-year retrospective cohort study (2008-2017) investigated newborns that underwent enterostomy formation and reversal for different intestinal disorders. Only infants less than 28 d old at the time of enterostomy creation were included in the study (corrected age was applied in the cases of preterm neonates). The patients were divided into two groups according to their underlying diseases. Group 1 included infants suffering from necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), whereas Group 2 included newborns diagnosed with intestinal disorders other than NEC, such as meconium obstruction, anorectal malformation, focal intestinal perforation, ileus, intestinal atresia and volvulus. The primary outcome measure was enterostomy-related morbidity. The data were analyzed statistically using Pearson's χ2 test or Fisher's exact test for categorical variables and the Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney U-Test for continuous variables.


In total, 76 infants met the inclusion criteria and were evaluated for enterostomy-related complications. Neither group showed significant differences regarding gender, gestational age, weight at birth or weight at enterostomy formation. Infants suffering from NEC (Group 1) were significantly older at enterostomy formation than the neonates of Group 2 [median (range), 11 (2-75) d vs 4 (1-101) d, P = 0.004)]. Significantly more ileostomies were created in Group 1 [47 (92.2%) vs 16 (64.0%), P = 0.007], whereas colostomies were performed significantly more often in Group 2 [2 (3.9%) vs 8 (32.0%), P = 0.002]. The initiation of enteral nutrition after enterostomy was significantly later in Group 1 infants than in Group 2 infants [median (range), 5 (3-13) vs 3 (1-9), P < 0.001]. The overall rate of one or more complications in patients of both groups after enterostomy formation was 80.3%, with rates of 86.3% in Group 1 and 68.0% in Group 2 (P = 0.073). Most patients suffered from two complications (23.7%). Four or more complications occurred in 21.6% of the infants in Group 1 and in 12.0% of the infants in Group 2 (P = 0.365). Following enterostomy closure, at least one complication was observed in 26.0% of the patients (30.6% in Group 1 and 16.7% in Group 2, P = 0.321). The occurrence of complications was not significantly different between neonates with NEC and infants with other intestinal disorders. 48 (65.8%) patients required no treatment or only pharmacological treatment for the complications that occurred [Clavien-Dindo-Classification (CDC) < III], while 25 (34.2%) required surgery to address the complications (CDC ≥ III). Early reversal of the enterostomy was performed significantly more often (P = 0.003) and the time to full enteral nutrition after closure was significantly longer [median (range), 7 (3-87) d vs 12 (5-93) d, P = 0.006] in infants with a CDC grading ≥ III than in infants with a CDC grading < III.


Complications occur in almost all infants with enterostomies. The majority of these complications are minor and do not require surgical treatment. There is a clear trend that neonates with NEC have a higher risk for developing complications than those without NEC.


Complications; Enterostomy; Enterostomy closure; Enterostomy formation; Necrotizing enterocolitis; Neonates; Stoma

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict-of-interest statement: All authors declare no conflicts of interest related to this article.

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