To explore whether addition of abdominal sonography (AUS) to plain radiography is helpful in the management of premature newborns with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).
This study is a prospective analysis of 93 premature neonates with NEC who were followed-up in our neonatal intensive care unit between October 2007 and April 2009.
Patients were classified into two groups; group I with suspected NEC (stage I) (n = 54) and group II with definite NEC (stage ≥II) (n = 39). Pneumatosis intestinalis (PI) (n = 29), free air (n = 9), and portal venous gas (PVG) (n = 1) were observed in group II on plain radiography. In the same group, echoic free fluid (EFF) (n = 9), PVG (n = 6), PI (n = 5), and focal fluid collection (n = 3) were the most prominent sonographic findings. In patients with intestinal perforation, whereas EFF and bowel wall thinning were observed on AUS, free air was not detected on plain radiography as a sign of intestinal perforation.
Our results suggest AUS to be superior to plain radiography on early detection of intestinal perforation by demonstrating PVG and EFF collection. Therefore, it may be life-saving by directing the surgeon to perform surgical intervention in the case of clinical deterioration in the course of NEC.
Pediatric Surgery International 10/2010; 27(3):321-7. DOI:10.1007/s00383-010-2737-8 · 1.06 Impact Factor