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Birthweight-specific risk factors for necrotising enterocolitis.
  1. S R Palmer,
  2. S J Thomas,
  3. R W Cooke,
  4. D C Low,
  5. W J Fysh,
  6. J F Murphy,
  7. G M Gandy,
  8. H R Gamsu
  1. PHLS Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre, University of Liverpool.


    In a multicentre case-control study of necrotising enterocolitis risk factors were found to vary with birthweight of cases. In very low birthweight cases the risk factors identified were those associated with prolonged or recurrent hypoxia (recurrent apnoea, respiratory distress, assisted ventilation, and umbilical artery catheterisation). In heavier birthweight infants the risk factors were, in contrast, related to hypoxia at birth (low 1 minute Apgar score and endotracheal intubation at birth) and umbilical vessel catheterisation used in exchange transfusions. Contradictory findings in published case-control studies carried out in the USA may be due to differences in patient populations and management policies. Hypoxia and umbilical vessel catheterisation should still be considered as risk factors for necrotising enterocolitis.

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