Necrotising enterocolitis-A 15-year outcome report from a UK specialist centre

Acta Paediatr. 2021 Feb;110(2):495-502. doi: 10.1111/apa.15510. Epub 2020 Oct 13.


Aims: Necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) is a disease associated with high mortality and morbidity, low birthweight and prematurity are risk factors. This study reports outcomes of babies having emergency laparotomy for NEC, examining institutional trends and exploring impact of multiple variables on mortality at 30 days and 1 year post-operatively.

Methods: Case records of babies with ICD coding for NEC were examined from 2000 to 2015. After exclusions, 243 cases were identified-confirmed by operative findings and histology. Cohort demographics and trends in mortality were investigated, and the relationship of common variables to mortality was modelled with univariate and multivariate logistic regression to generate a mortality prediction tool.

Results: Mean gestational age was 28 + 4 weeks. A 30-day mortality was 18.9%. Gestation, birthweight and area of bowel affected were significant of outcome (mortality), and the presence of pre-operative pneumoperitoneum was strongly correlated. Year of surgery and congenital cardiac pathology requiring intervention were not significant. Using multivariate regression modelling, a mortality outcome prediction tool has been developed.

Conclusion: Good survival following operation for NEC (>70%) is feasible, even in those babies born extremely premature (<28 weeks) and post-operatively re-located to tertiary NICUs. With increasing gestational age (>32 weeks), mortality is uncommon.

Keywords: mortality; necrotising enterocolitis; surgery; term NEC.

MeSH terms

  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing* / epidemiology
  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing* / surgery
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases*
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology