Purpose: To evaluate neurodevelopment and growth in extremely preterm infants with or without necrotizing enterocolitis or spontaneous intestinal perforation.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of infants admitted to Canadian neonatal intensive care units in 2010 to 2011. We assessed outcomes at 18 to 24 months’ corrected ages for preterm infants <29 weeks of gestational age at birth with spontaneous intestinal perforation or non-perforated or perforated necrotizing enterocolitis, and for preterm infants with none of these gastrointestinal complications. The primary outcome was a composite of death or significant neurodevelopmental impairment at 18 to 24 months’ corrected age. We used multivariable logistic regression models to adjust for gestational age, small for gestational age, prenatal steroids, cesarean section, multiple gestations, and SNAP-II score.
Results: Of 2,019 infants total, 39 (1.9%) had spontaneous intestinal perforation, 61 (3%) had perforated necrotizing enterocolitis, and 115 (5.7%) had non-perforated necrotizing enterocolitis. Infants with spontaneous intestinal perforation (aOR 2.11; 95% CI 1.01-4.42), necrotizing enterocolitis (aOR 2.58; 95% CI 1.81-3.68), or any bowel perforation (aOR 3.97; CI 2.43-6.48) had higher odds of death or significant neurodevelopmental impairment compared to infants with none of these bowel diseases.
Conclusions: Spontaneous intestinal perforation, necrotizing enterocolitis, or any bowel perforation are risk factors for death or significant neurodevelopmental impairment in extremely preterm infants.