Management of neonatal spontaneous intestinal perforation by peritoneal needle aspiration

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To describe conservative management of spontaneous intestinal perforation (SIP) in preterm infants using peritoneal needle aspiration (PNA).


Monocentric retrospective review of SIP cases treated primarily by PNA between 1999 and 2015 (n = 31).


Mean gestational age was 29.2 ± 2.4 weeks and birthweight 1149 ± 428 g. SIP occurred at 3.7 ± 2.2 days of life. PNA achieved definitive treatment in 18 patients (60%) with a mean of 1.8 (±0.8) procedures. All patients requiring more than three PNAs had secondary laparotomy. Two patients died and five presented severe cerebral lesions. Full enteral feeding was achieved 42 ± 18 days after SIP. Intestinal morbidity included cholestasis (n = 6), intestinal stricture (n = 1) and growth restriction (n = 22). On follow-up (n = 25, median = 4 years), no severe impairment was noted. Seventeen children (68%) had a normal development.


PNA as primary therapy for SIP is a viable option, resulting in definitive treatment in 60% of cases, with limited mortality and morbidity.

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