Neonatal omphalitis: A review of its serious complications

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Until the advent of aseptic deliveries and aseptic umbilical cord care, many deaths occurred from umbilical infections. Omphalitis is a localized infection of the umbilical cord stump, most commonly caused by a single organism, which usually responds well to appropriate antibiotics. Umbilical sepsis is relatively uncommon in the developed world but is endemic in less-developed regions. Complications of omphalitis are exceedingly rare, but potentially catastrophic. Many of these babies will require surgical intervention. This paper aims to review the serious complications of omphalitis and how these should be managed.


It is important to be aware of the rare but potentially lethal complications of omphalitis. Prompt recognition of serious sequelae is crucial for survival.

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