Necrotizing Enterocolitis: Old Problem with New Hope

Department of Pediatrics, China Medical University Hospital, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan.
Pediatrics & Neonatology (Impact Factor: 1.23). 06/2012; 53(3):158-63. DOI: 10.1016/j.pedneo.2012.04.001
Source: PubMed


The incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and mortality rate associated with this disease are not decreasing despite more than three decades of intensive research investigation and advances in neonatal intensive care. Although the etiology of NEC is not clearly elucidated, the most accepted hypothesis at present is that enteral feeding in the presence of intestinal hypoxia-ischemia-reperfusion, and colonization with pathogens provokes an inappropriately accentuated inflammatory response by the immature intestinal epithelial cells of the preterm neonate. However, delayed colonization of commensal flora with dysbiotic flora with a predominance of pathologic microorganisms plays a fundamental role in the pathogenesis of NEC. Recent studies have further identified that NEC infants have less diverse flora compared to age-matched controls without NEC. Increased gastric residual volume may be an early sign of NEC. An absolute neutrophil count of <1.5 × 10(9)/L and platelets below 100 × 10(9)/L are associated with an increased risk for mortality and gastrointestinal morbidity. Nonspecific supportive medical management should be initiated promptly. Sudden changes in vital signs such as tachycardia or impending shock may indicate perforation. A recent meta-analysis investigating using probiotics for prevention of NEC with a total of 2176 preterm very low birth weight infants found a success rate of just 1/25. Careful monitoring of the residual volume, and of serious changes in hemograms and vital signs may help in early diagnosis and prediction of when to perform medical or early surgical intervention. In term of prevention, administration of oral probiotics containing Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus is a simple and safe method that attempts to early establish of commensal flora balance to inhibit pathogenic flora and an inflammatory response.

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Available from: Hung-Chih Lin, Aug 28, 2014
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    • "Unfortunately, regarding its pathogenesis, NEC has always been viewed as a complex disease. It appears that multiple factors involving immature intestinal function contribute to the pathogenesis: gastrointestinal dysmotility, impaired digestive capacity, altered regulation of intestinal blood flow, barrier dysfunction, altered anti-inflammatory regulation, and impaired host defenses (35). Moreover, NEC can rapidly progress from early clinical signs to extensive intestinal necrosis within hours, thereby limiting the effectiveness of therapeutic intervention. "
    Y Yang · Y Guo · Q Kan · X G Zhou · X.Y. Zhou · Y Li ·
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    ABSTRACT: Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is one of the most common acquired diseases of the gastrointestinal tract in preterm infants. Some randomized, controlled trials (RCTs) have indicated that probiotics may potentially lower the incidence of NEC and mortality. However, debate still remains about the safety of probiotics and their influence on normal infant growth. We performed this meta-analysis to assess the safety and benefits of probiotic supplementation in preterm infants. We searched in PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane databases for English references, and in Wanfang, VIP, and CNKI databases for Chinese references. Ultimately, 27 RCTs (including 9 Chinese articles) were incorporated into this meta-analysis. Relative risk (RR) and weighted mean difference (WMD) were calculated using a random-effects or fixed-effects model, depending on the data type and heterogeneity. A total of 6655 preterm infants, including the probiotic group (n=3298) and the placebo group (n=3357), were eligible for inclusion in this meta-analysis. For Bell stage ≥I and gestational age <37 weeks, risk of NEC incidence was significantly lower in the probiotic group [RR=0.35, 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.27-0.44, P<0.00001]. For Bell stage ≥II or gestational age <34 weeks, there were likewise significant differences between the probiotic and placebo groups concerning NEC incidence (RR=0.34, 95%CI=0.25-0.48, P<0.00001; and RR=0.39, 95%CI=0.27-0.56, P<0.00001). Risk of death was significantly reduced in the probiotic group (RR=0.58, 95%CI=0.46-0.75, P<0.0001). In contrast, there was no significant difference concerning the risk of sepsis (RR=0.94, 95%CI=0.83-1.06, P=0.31). With respect to weight gain and the age at which infants reached full feeds, no significant differences were found between the probiotic and placebo groups (WMD=1.07, 95%CI=-0.21-2.34, P=0.10; and WMD=-1.66, 95%CI=-3.6-0.27, P=0.09). This meta-analysis has shown that, regardless of gestational age and NEC stage, probiotic supplementation could significantly reduce the risk of NEC in preterm infants. Analysis also indicated that such supplementation did not increase the incidence risk of sepsis or of mortality. Finally, the study showed that probiotic supplementation may have no adverse effect on normal feeding and growth.
    Brazilian journal of medical and biological research = Revista brasileira de pesquisas medicas e biologicas / Sociedade Brasileira de Biofisica ... [et al.] 08/2014; DOI:10.1590/1414-431X20143857 · 1.01 Impact Factor
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    • "Frequent isolation of enterotoxin-producing CoNS from the intestinal flora of infants with NEC has led authors to propose that overgrowth of CoNS plays a role in this complication [60–62]. A poor barrier function and an overall immaturity of the premature gastrointestinal immune system [63, 64] contribute largely to the development of NEC, possibly by favoring bacterial overgrowth and translocation [57, 63, 65]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Neonates, especially those born prematurely, are at high risk of morbidity and mortality from sepsis. Multiple factors, including prematurity, invasive life-saving medical interventions, and immaturity of the innate immune system, put these infants at greater risk of developing infection. Although advanced neonatal care enables us to save even the most preterm neonates, the very interventions sustaining those who are hospitalized concurrently expose them to serious infections due to common nosocomial pathogens, particularly coagulase-negative staphylococci bacteria (CoNS). Moreover, the health burden from infection in these infants remains unacceptably high despite continuing efforts. In this paper, we review the epidemiology, immunological risk factors, diagnosis, prevention, treatment, and outcomes of neonatal infection due to the predominant neonatal pathogen CoNS.
    Clinical and Developmental Immunology 05/2013; 2013(5):586076. DOI:10.1155/2013/586076 · 2.93 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To improve diagnosis of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) by noninvasive markers representing gut wall integrity loss (I-FABP and claudin-3) and gut wall inflammation (calprotectin). Furthermore, the usefulness of I-FABP to predict NEC severity and to screen for NEC was evaluated. Urinary I-FABP and claudin-3 concentrations and fecal calprotectin concentrations were measured in 35 consecutive neonates suspected of NEC at the moment of NEC suspicion. To investigate I-FABP as screening tool for NEC, daily urinary levels were determined in 6 neonates who developed NEC out of 226 neonates included before clinical suspicion of NEC. Of 35 neonates suspected of NEC, 14 developed NEC. Median I-FABP, claudin-3, and calprotectin levels were significantly higher in neonates with NEC than in neonates with other diagnoses. Cutoff values for I-FABP (2.20 pg/nmol creatinine), claudin-3 (800.8 INT), and calprotectin (286.2 microg/g feces) showed clinically relevant positive likelihood ratios (LRs) of 9.30, 3.74, 12.29, and negative LRs of 0.08, 0.36, 0.15, respectively. At suspicion of NEC, median urinary I-FABP levels of neonates with intestinal necrosis necessitating surgery or causing death were significantly higher than urinary I-FABP levels in conservatively treated neonates. Of the 226 neonates included before clinical suspicion of NEC, 6 developed NEC. In 4 of these 6 neonates I-FABP levels were not above the cutoff level to diagnose NEC before clinical suspicion. Urinary I-FABP levels are not suitable as screening tool for NEC before clinical suspicion. However, urinary I-FABP and claudin-3 and fecal calprotectin are promising diagnostic markers for NEC. Furthermore, urinary I-FABP might also be used to predict disease severity.
    Annals of surgery 06/2010; 251(6):1174-80. DOI:10.1097/SLA.0b013e3181d778c4 · 8.33 Impact Factor
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