Yasser Elsayed, Deepak Louis, Martha Hinton, Mary Seshia, Ruben Alvaro, Shyamala Dakshinamurti

A Novel Integrated Clinical–Biochemical–Radiological and Sonographic Classification of Necrotizing Enterocolitis

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology and Child Health

Objective To evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of clinical, laboratory, and radiological markers and the neonatologist-performed intestinal ultrasound (NP-IUS) for treatment interventions in preterm neonates who developed necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). Study Design This was a case–control study of preterm neonates < 35 weeks with a diagnostic workup for NEC. The diagnostic workup included NP-IUS performed by trained neonatologists using a standard protocol, abdominal roentgenogram (AXR), and laboratory investigations. Intestinal ultrasound (IUS) performed by two neonatologists was standardized to detect 11 injury markers. AXRs were read independently by experienced pediatric radiologists. The investigators who retrospectively interpreted the IUS were blinded to the clinical and treatment outcomes. Results A total of 111 neonates were assessed. Fifty-four did not require intervention and formed the control group. Twenty cases were treated medically, 21 cases were treated with late surgery for stricture or adhesions, and 16 were treated with early surgery. The integrated model of cumulative severity of ultrasound markers, respiratory and hemodynamic instability, abdominal wall cellulitis, and C- reactive protein > 16 mg/L had an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.89 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.83–0.94%, p < 0.0001) for diagnosing NEC requiring surgical intervention. We also investigated the utility of Bell's classification to diagnose either the need for surgery or death, and it had an AUC of 0.74 (95% CI: 0.65–0.83%, p < 0.0001). Conclusion In this cohort, a combination of specific IUS markers and clinical signs of instability, abdominal wall cellulitis, plus laboratory markers were diagnostic of NEC requiring interventions. Key Points

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