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A Journal on Pediatrics, Neonatology, Adolescent Medicine,
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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Minerva Pediatrica 2003 June;55(3):289-92

language: English

Spontaneous intestinal perforation in a full term infant: association with infection

Korakaki E., Manoura A., Hatzidaki E., Arbiros J., Vlahakis J., Valari V., Giannakopoulou C.


The term spontaneous intestinal perforation suggests a perforation in the gastrointestinal tract of a newborn of no demonstrable cause. Only a few cases have been described in full-term newborns. The aetiology and pathogenesis of the disease are unknown although multiple theories have been proposed. Some authors suggest ischemia as the most likely cause. Conditions associated with fetal or neonatal hypoxia are important antecedents for this emerging distinct entity. We present a case of a spontaneous, intestinal perforation in a full-term neonate with urinary tract infection. There was no clinical evidence of necrotizing enterocolitis or bowel obstruction. Radiological images revealed a pneumoperitoneum. An emergency explorative laparotomy was performed. A localized linear perforation was identified in the transverse colon. Pathological examination of the resected specimens failed to reveal any etiology for the perforation. The neonate recovered rapidly, with no gastrointestinal complications. In our case none of the factors which have previously been associated with intestinal perforation could be implicated. We suggest that focal intestinal perforation is possibly the result of infection. Further studies, including careful recording of cases and close histopathological examination of resected specimens, are required in order to provide more information and improve our understanding of the aetiology of this rare occurance.

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