Mesenteric oxygen desaturation in an infant with congenital heart disease and necrotizing enterocolitis

Tex Heart Inst J. 2007;34(4):442-4.


Congenital heart disease is a risk factor for the development of necrotizing enterocolitis, although the exact mechanism of development remains unclear. Herein, we report the case of an infant with pulmonary atresia, an intact ventricular septum, and multiple aortopulmonary collateral vessels. At 4 weeks of age, the infant developed necrotizing enterocolitis in association with significant mesenteric oxygen desaturation, as measured by means of near-infrared spectroscopy. With bowel rest and antibiotic therapy, the patient's mesenteric oxygen saturation and clinical status improved. This case highlights the importance of impaired mesenteric oxygen delivery consequential to congenital heart disease as a possible risk factor for necrotizing enterocolitis, and the use of near-infrared spectroscopy to measure tissue perfusion noninvasively in high-risk patients. To our knowledge, this is the 1st report of mesenteric oxyhemoglobin desaturation in association with necrotizing enterocolitis in a patient who also had congenital heart disease.

Keywords: Enterocolitis, necrotizing/diagnosis/etiology/prevention & control; heart defects, congenital/complications; infant, newborn, diseases; oximetry; oxygen/blood; perfusion; risk factors; spectroscopy, near-infrared/methods.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage
  • Blood Gas Analysis
  • Disease Progression
  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing / drug therapy
  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing / etiology
  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing / metabolism*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Intestine, Small / blood supply*
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology*
  • Pulmonary Atresia / complications*
  • Pulmonary Atresia / metabolism
  • Spectroscopy, Near-Infrared
  • Splanchnic Circulation / physiology*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents