Enterostomy-related complications and growth following reversal in infants

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Infant enterostomies are used to manage various neonatal surgical conditions where it is not suitable or safe to form a primary anastomosis. Complications are common and there is no consensus regarding optimal timing of enterostomy reversal. Stoma reversal is thought to allow patients to thrive; however, this has not been demonstrated robustly.


The study aimed to identify risk factors for enterostomy-related complications and to determine the relationship between enterostomy complications, enterostomy reversal and weight gain in infants with enterostomies.


A retrospective case note review of 58 infants who underwent enterostomy formation and reversal during a 6-year period was undertaken; demographic data, diagnosis, enterostomy complications and serial weights were noted. Standardised growth charts were used to calculate z scores.


Enterostomy complications were documented in 24 infants (41%). Infants of low birth weight and low gestational birth age were significantly more likely to have an enterostomy-related complication (1110 vs 2125 g, 28.5 vs 35 weeks, respectively); they were more likely to have longer inpatient stays and remain dependent on parenteral nutrition prior to closure (median 92.5 vs 52 days, 40% vs 16%, respectively). Irrespective of diagnosis, gestation and presence of an enterostomy complication, the mean z score prior to enterostomy closure was −0.747 vs +0.892 following closure.


Around 40% of infants with an enterostomy will have an enterostomy-related complication. Whatever their weight, gestation or underlying pathology, most infants thrive after enterostomy closure and this should be considered when planning the optimal timing for this procedure.

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