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 ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 30-34

Necrotizing enterocolitis in neonates: Has the brain taken a hit 10 years later?


1 Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK
2 Royal London Hospital, London, UK; Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel Road, London E1 1BB, UK
3 Royal London Hospital, London, UK

Correspondence Address:
Mr. Devesh Misra
Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel Road, London E1 1BB.
UK
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jpn.JPN_41_20

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Background: The neonate with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is at risk of developing poor neurodevelopmental outcomes. There is a dearth of long-term follow-up studies in this field, with a majority of studies reporting a follow-up duration of 2 years. The aim of this study was to assess neurodevelopment of babies diagnosed with NEC more than a decade ago. This study was carried out in a tertiary hospital with neonatal surgery and intensive care units. Materials and Methods: Retrospective review of notes and telephone interviews with parents of babies diagnosed with NEC between January 2007 and December 2008 was conducted. Evidence of motor, cognitive, and sensory impairment was recorded. Fisher’s exact, χ2, and unpaired t-tests were used. P-values <0.05 were considered significant. Results: Overall mortality in this cohort was 31%. Eighteen patients were followed up to an average age of 11.2 years. Of the 18 patients, 11 (61%) had a neurological impairment. Of the 15 surgically managed patients, 10 (67%) had an impairment and, of the 3 medically managed patients, 1 (33%) had an impairment. Cognitive impairment was the most common (10/18, 56%), followed by motor (6/18, 33%). Ten of 18 (56%) had special education needs, 9 of 18 (50%) had learning difficulties, 6 of 18 (33%) had speaking difficulties, and 4 of 18 (22%) had cerebral palsy. Patients also had behavioral conditions (3/18, 17%), visual impairment (2/18, 11%), and seizures (2/18, 11%). Conclusion: In the field of NEC, there is a hidden neurological burden that neonatal surgeons bequeath to the community. Sixty-one percent of patients are neurologically impaired, affecting the quality of life and function in the long-term. There should be appropriate parent counseling at the point of diagnosis and regular development checks for children with NEC.






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