Functional impairments at school age of children with necrotizing enterocolitis or spontaneous intestinal perforation

Pediatr Res. 2011 Dec;70(6):619-25. doi: 10.1203/PDR.0b013e31823279b1.


We aimed to determine motor, cognitive, and behavioral outcome at school age of children who had either necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) or spontaneous intestinal perforation (SIP). This case-control study included infants with NEC Bell's stage IIA onward, infants with SIP, and matched controls (1996-2002). At school age, we assessed motor skills, intelligence, visual perception, visuomotor integration, verbal memory, attention, behavior, and executive functions. Of 93 infants with NEC or SIP, 28 (30%) died. We included 52 of 65 survivors for follow-up. At mean age of 9 y, we found that 68% of the children had borderline or abnormal scores on the Movement Assessment Battery for Children (versus 45% of controls). Their mean total intelligence quotient (IQ) was 86 ± 14 compared with 97 ± 9 in the controls. In addition, attention and visual perception were affected (p < 0.01 and p = 0.02). In comparison to controls, surgically treated children were at highest risk for adverse outcome. In conclusion, at school age, the motor functions and intelligence of many children with NEC or SIP were borderline or abnormal and, specifically, attention and visual perception were impaired. Children with NEC or SIP form a specific risk group for functional impairments at school age even though the majority does not have overt brain pathology.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child Behavior / physiology*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing / physiopathology*
  • Executive Function / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Intestinal Perforation / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology