Necrotizing enterocolitis in term neonates: Possible risk factors
Keywords:Necrotizing enterocolitis, NEC, Term, Neonates, Risk factors, Methamphetamine
Background: Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a common surgical disease in premature neonates, however, it may occasionally occur in term neonates. The etiology of NEC in prematurity is multifactorial but is still not well understood in term neonates. In this study, the maternal and neonatal risk factors, along with underlying pathology that may precipitate NEC in term neonates are investigated.
Methods: A retrospective study investigating the maternal and neonatal risk factors for NEC in term neonates (G.A ≥37 weeks) was performed over an 8-years period (January 2009 to March 2017). We used the second group of healthy term neonates over the same period as a control group. The data were collected from medical records. Term babies with the primary diagnosis of NEC were included in the review. Premature neonates (G.A <37 weeks) and NEC secondary to intestinal obstruction (e.g. Hirschsprung’s disease) were excluded from the study.
Results: Of 194 babies with NEC, 14 were term neonates. Maternal risk factors: maternal age, Rhesus status, nicotine use, medication use, chronic and gestational illness were not found to be significant, however, maternal methamphetamine (MA) abuse was found to be a significant risk factor. Neonatal risk factors: genetic disorder, mode of delivery, type of milk, and invasive procedure were not found to be significant, but the presence of congenital heart disease (CHD) was a significant risk factor. Three neonates with CHD (3/4) in the group of term neonates with NEC also had maternal MA use.
Conclusion: NEC in term neonates is rarely encountered. CHD is well known to precipitate the disease in premature or full-term neonates, as also noted in this cohort. MA usage was also noted as a possible underlying cause.
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