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Elena Palleri1,2 · Veronica Frimmel2 · Urban Fläring3,4 · Marco Bartocci1,2 · Tomas Wester1,5. Hyponatremia at the onset of necrotizing enterocolitis is associated with intestinal surgery and higher mortality. December 2021. European Journal of Pediatrics

Abstract

It has previously been shown that hyponatremia reflects the severity of inflammation in pediatric gastrointestinal diseases. Interpretation of electrolyte disorders is a common, but not well studied challenge in neonatology, especially in the context of early detection of necrotizing enterocolitis and bowel necrosis. The aim of this study was to assess if hyponatremia, or a decrease in plasma sodium level, at the onset of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is associated with intestinal ischemia/ necrosis requiring bowel resection and/or NECrelated deaths. This was a retrospective cohort study including patients with verified NEC (Bell’s stage ≥ 2) during the period 2009–2014. Data on plasma sodium 1–3 days before and at the onset of NEC were collected. The exposure was hyponatremia, defined as plasma sodium < 135 mmol/L and a decrease in plasma sodium. Primary outcome was severe NEC, defined as need for intestinal resection due to intestinal ischemia/necrosis and/ or NEC-related death within 2 weeks of the onset of NEC. Generalized linear models were applied to analyze the primary outcome and presented as odds ratio. A total of 88 patients with verified NEC were included. Fifty-four (60%) of them had severe NEC. Hyponatremia and a decrease in plasma sodium at onset of NEC were associated with increased odds of severe NEC (OR crude 3.91, 95% CI (1.52–10.04) and 1.19, 95% CI (1.07– 1.33), respectively). Also, a sub-analysis, excluding infants with pneumoperitoneum during the NEC episode, showed an increased odds ratio for severe NEC in infants with hyponatremia (OR 23.0, 95% CI (2.78–190.08)). Conclusions: The findings of hyponatremia and/or a sudden decrease in plasma sodium at the onset of NEC are associated with intestinal surgery or death within 2 weeks.

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