Aim of the study: The aim of this study was to investigate the factors associated with mortality in infants referred for the surgical treatment of advanced necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).
Methods: Retrospective review of all infants with confirmed (Bell stage II or III) NEC treated in our unit during the past 8 years (January 2002 to December 2010). Data for survivors and nonsurvivors were compared using Mann-Whitney test and Fisher's exact test and are reported as median (range).
Results: Of the 205 infants with NEC, 35 (17%) were medically managed; 170 (83%) had surgery; 66 (32%) infants died; all had received surgery. Survivors and nonsurvivors were comparable for gestational age, birth weight, and gender distribution. Overall mortality was 32%, the highest mortality was in infants with pan-intestinal disease (86%) but remained significant in those with less severe disease (multifocal 39%; focal disease 21%). The commonest cause of mortality was multiple organ dysfunction syndrome and nearly half of the nonsurvivors had care withdrawn.
Conclusion: Despite improvement in neonatal care, overall mortality (32%) for advanced NEC has not changed in 10 years. Mortality is significant even with minimal bowel involvement.
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