Neither of the two emergency surgical interventions used to correct perforated necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a common and dangerous complication of prematurity, appears to significantly improve an infant’s survival and later health, according to a study by UAB researchers and colleagues in the May 25 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.
In the first clinical trial to examine this issue, a team of scientists from UAB, Yale University and other sites studied 117 preterm infants with perforated NEC to compare outcomes of the two currently used surgical interventions, primary peritoneal drainage, or laparotomy, and bowl resection. All study infants were born before 34 weeks gestation and weighed less than 1,500 grams (3.31 pounds).
“We found that the type of operation performed for perforated NEC does not influence survival or other clinically important outcomes in preterm infants,” said Reed A. Dimmitt, M.D., M.S.P.H., UAB assistant professor of pediatrics and co-author of the study. “My colleagues and I believe that with the results of this study, surgeons will continue to perform the operation they are most comfortable with, but we hope it spurs discussion of alternative operations with scientific non-bias.”
Jennifer Park Lollar | EurekAlert!
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