Intestinal stenosis following successful medical management of necrotizing enterocolitis

Marshall Z. Schwartz, C. Joan Richardson, C. Keith Hayden, Leonard Swischuk, Kenneth R.T. Tyson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


In the past decade, increased clinical awareness and better medical and surgical management of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) has resulted in improved survival. With an increase in the number of infants surviving the acute stages of NEC the sequelae, including intestinal stenosis, have become more apparent. In the past 5.5 yr, 62 patients with NEC have been treated at our institution. Of the 28 survivors of medical management for NEC seven patients developed intestinal stenosis. An average of 23 days elapsed between the recovery from NEC and the diagnosis of colonic stenosis. Only three patients manifested symptoms of intestinal obstruction. Two patients had blood in their stools and two patients were asymptomatic. Five infants were managed by primary or staged resection of the intestinal stenosis. The remaining two patients were treated nonoperatively. Our data suggests a high incidence of intestinal stenosis (25%) following medical management of NEC. There is a marked preference for the stenosis to occur on the left side of the colon. Colon stenoses can exist without symptoms and radiographically proven areas of stenosis can resolve. We recommend that all infants following medical management of NEC have a barium enema prior to hospital discharge. In selected cases asymptomatic patients with colonic stenosis may not require operative intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)890-899
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1980


  • Necrotizing enterocolitis
  • intestinal stenosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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