Hyperglycemia is associated with increased morbidity and mortality rates in neonates with necrotizing enterocolitis

J Pediatr Surg. 2004 Jun;39(6):898-901; discussion 898-901. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2004.02.005.


Background purpose: An association between hyperglycaemia and poor outcome has been reported in critically ill adults and children. The authors investigated the incidence of hyperglycemia in infants with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and the relationship between glucose levels and outcome in these infants.

Methods: All glucose measurements (n = 6508) in 95 neonates with confirmed NEC admitted to the surgical intensive care unit (ICU) were reviewed. Maximum glucose concentration during admission (Gmax) was determined for each infant and correlated with outcome. Eleven infants in whom treatment was withdrawn within 24 hours owing to unsalvageable panintestinal NEC were excluded from the analysis.

Results: Glucose levels ranged from 0.5 to 35.0 mmol/L and 69% of infants became hyperglycemic (>8 mmol/L) during their admission. Thirty-two infants died. Mortality rate tended to be higher in infants with Gmax greater than 11.9 mmol/L compared with those with Gmax less than 11.9 mmol/L, and late (>10 days admission) mortality rate was significantly higher in these infants (29% v, 2%; P =.0009). Median length of stay was 9.3 days. Linear regression analysis indicated that Gmax was significantly related to length of stay (P <.0001).

Conclusions: Hyperglycemia is common in infants with NEC admitted to the ICU and is associated with an increase in late mortality and longer intensive care stay. Aggressive glycemic control may improve outcome in this group of infants.

MeSH terms

  • Birth Weight
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing / blood*
  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing / mortality
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / etiology*
  • Incidence
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Recurrence
  • Withholding Treatment


  • Blood Glucose