, Volume 27, Issue 7, pp 747-753
Date: 13 Mar 2011

Outcomes analysis after percutaneous abdominal drainage and exploratory laparotomy for necrotizing enterocolitis in 4,657 infants

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Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a common acquired gastrointestinal disease of infancy that is strongly correlated with prematurity. Both percutaneous abdominal drainage and laparotomy with resection of diseased bowel are surgical options for treatment of NEC. The objective of the present study is to compare outcomes of patients who were treated either with bowel resection/ostomy (BR/O), percutaneous drainage (PD) or Both procedures for NEC in a retrospective analysis.


A retrospective analysis was performed using data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, extracted from a combination of the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) and Kids’ Inpatient Database (KID) from 1988 to 2005. Multiple logistic regression analyses were performed for in-hospital mortality associated with PD, BR/O or Both procedures for management of NEC. In addition, linear regression was performed for length of stay and total hospital charges. Odds ratios were calculated using the BR/O category as the reference group.


There were 4,238 patients identified who underwent BR/O, 286 for PD, and 133 for Both procedures for NEC. Patients undergoing PD had a 5.7 times higher odds of death compared to patients treated with BR/O (p < 0.05) alone; patients receiving Both procedures did not have significantly higher odds of death compared to the BR/O group. Patients who underwent PD had a shorter length of stay (43 days; p < 0.05) and lower total hospital charges ($173,850; p < 0.05) in comparison to patients treated with BR/O. Length of stay and total hospital charges were greater in patients who received Both procedures, compared to those receiving BR/O alone, but this was not statistically significant.


In this nationwide sample of infants with NEC, outcomes for peritoneal drainage alone were poorer than those for bowel resection and enterostomy and for Both procedures. Increased overall mortality and shorter length of stay and hospital charges suggest higher early mortality associated with peritoneal drainage alone. Risk stratifying these groups using prematurity, birth weight, and number of concurrent diagnoses yielded equivocal results. A more detailed study will be needed to determine whether the patient populations that underwent initial laparotomy and bowel resection are substantially different from those that receive peritoneal drainage, or whether differences in outcome may be directly attributable to the type of procedure performed.