Necrotizing Enterocolitis: Old Problem with New Hope

Department of Pediatrics, China Medical University Hospital, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan.
Pediatrics & Neonatology (Impact Factor: 0.88). 06/2012; 53(3):158-63. DOI: 10.1016/j.pedneo.2012.04.001
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT 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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    ABSTRACT: It is routine practice in most neonatal intensive care units to measure the volume and color of gastric residuals (GRs) prior to enteral bolus feedings in preterm very low birth weight infants. However, there is paucity of evidence supporting the routine use of this technique. Moreover, owing to the lack of uniform standards in the management of GRs, wide variations exist as to what constitutes significant GR volume, the importance of GR color and frequency of GR evaluation, and the color or volume standards that dictate discarding or returning GRs. The presence of large GR volumes or green-colored residuals prior to feeding often prompts subsequent feedings to be withheld or reduced because of possible necrotizing enterocolitis resulting in delays in enteral feeding. Cessation or delays in enteral feeding may result in extrauterine growth restriction, a known risk factor for poor neurodevelopmental and growth outcomes in preterm very low birth weight infants. Although some neonatal intensive care units are abandoning the practice of routine GR evaluation, little evidence exists to support the discontinuation or continuation of this practice. This review summarizes the current state of GR evaluation and underlines the need for a scientific basis to either support or refute the routine evaluation of GRs.
    Pediatrics & Neonatology 10/2014; 55(5). DOI:10.1016/j.pedneo.2014.02.008 · 0.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) remains one of the most frequent gastrointestinal diseases in the neonatal intensive care unit, with a continuing unacceptable high mortality and morbidity rates. Up to 20% to 40% of infants with NEC will need surgical intervention at some point. Although the exact pathophysiology is not yet elucidated, prematurity, use of formula feeding, and an altered intestinal microbiota are supposed to induce an inflammatory response of the immature intestine. The clinical picture of NEC has been well described. However, an early diagnosis and differentiation against sepsis is challenging. Besides, it is difficult to timely identify NEC cases that will deteriorate and need surgical intervention. This may interfere with the most optimal treatment of infants with NEC. In this review, we discuss the pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment of NEC with a focus on the role of microbiota in the development of NEC. An overview of different clinical prediction models and biomarkers is given. Some of these are promising tools for accurate diagnosis of NEC and selection of appropriate therapy.
    Inflammatory Bowel Diseases 09/2014; DOI:10.1097/MIB.0000000000000184 · 5.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: No single diagnostic investigation is currently available for necrotising enterocolitis (NEC). We implemented a novel, untargeted, exploratory study to determine whether metabolomics can reveal early biomarker(s) of NEC. The effect of gestational age on the metabolome was also investigated. Two serum samples were obtained from 12 preterm babies (born <30 weeks gestation) and eight term controls: sample "A" at ≤1 week of age and sample "B" once fully fed. Samples were subjected to gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Metabolomic data was analysed by principal component analysis (PCA), univariate and network analysis. Sixteen metabolite features significantly differed when B samples were compared between preterm babies who subsequently developed NEC and preterm/term controls (p value <0.05). Of these seven metabolites were linked to up-regulation of IL-1β. Significant differences in 54 metabolite features (p value <0.05) were observed between preterm and term metabolomes. Of these, 12 metabolite features were linked to one network involved in carbohydrate/lipid metabolism (p = 1 × 10(-30)). Metabolomic differences were observed in preterm babies at risk of NEC. However, sample sizes were insufficient to confidently identify a biomarker. Network modelling of preterm and term metabolomes suggest possible nutritional deficiency and altered pro-insulin action in preterm babies.
    The journal of maternal-fetal & neonatal medicine: the official journal of the European Association of Perinatal Medicine, the Federation of Asia and Oceania Perinatal Societies, the International Society of Perinatal Obstetricians 03/2015; DOI:10.3109/14767058.2015.1017462 · 1.36 Impact Factor


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Aug 28, 2014