Severe neurodevelopmental disability and healthcare needs among survivors of medical and surgical necrotizing enterocolitis: A prospective cohort study Academic Article uri icon

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  • PURPOSE: This study characterizes neurodevelopmental outcomes and healthcare needs of extremely low birth weight (ELBW) survivors of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) compared to ELBW infants without NEC. METHODS: Data were collected prospectively on neonates born 22-27weeks' gestation or 401-1000g at 47 Vermont Oxford Network member centers from 1999 to 2012. Detailed neurodevelopmental evaluations were conducted at 18-24months corrected age. Information regarding rehospitalizations, postdischarge surgeries, and feeding was also collected. "Severe neurodevelopmental disability" was defined as: bilateral blindness, hearing impairment requiring amplification, inability to walk 10 steps with support, cerebral palsy, and/or Bayley Mental or Psychomotor Developmental Index <70. Diagnosis of NEC required both clinical and radiographic findings. RESULTS: There were 9063 children without NEC, 417 with medical NEC, and 449 with surgical NEC evaluated. Significantly higher rates of morbidity were observed among infants with a history of NEC. Those with surgical NEC were more frequently affected across all outcome measures at 18-24months corrected age: 38% demonstrated severe neurodevelopmental disability, nearly half underwent postdischarge operations, and a quarter required tube feeding at home. CONCLUSION: At 18-24months, extremely low birth weight survivors of necrotizing enterocolitis were at markedly increased risk (p<0.001) for severe neurodevelopmental disability, postdischarge surgery, and tube feeding. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: II (prospective cohort study with <80% follow-up rate).


  • Fullerton, Brenna S
  • Hong, Charles R
  • Velazco, Cristine S
  • Mercier, Charles E
  • Morrow, Kate A
  • Edwards, Erika M
  • Ferrelli, Karla R
  • Soll, Roger
  • Modi, Biren P
  • Horbar, Jeffrey D
  • Jaksic, Tom

publication date

  • January 2018