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Neonatal gastrointestinal perforations

Authors
Journal
Journal of Pediatric Surgery
0022-3468
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
27
Issue
10
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/0022-3468(92)90292-f

Abstract

Abstract Neonatal gastrointestinal perforation has been associated with mortality rates of 40% to 70%. Over the past 20 years, 81 infants (46 boys and 35 girls) were treated for a gastrointestinal perforation at this institution. Perforation occurred from birth to 50 days (average, 8.2 days). Etiologies included necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) (68%), meconium ileus (10%), and idiopathic gastric perforation (7%). Seventy-six infants underwent surgical exploration and five infants, considered too small or too sick to withstand a laparotomy, were treated with peritoneal lavage only. There were 29 deaths, an overall mortality of 36%. Ninety percent of the death occurred in patients with NEC, while all patients with gastric perforations survived. There has not been a significant improvement in survival in recent years, partly because of an increase in the proportion of NEC-related perforations. However, there is a narrowing of the mortality gap between low birth weight and normal weight infants. As the risk inherent to laparotomy in neonates is decreasing, other factors, such as the underlying etiology or the site of perforation, play a more important prognostic role.

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