Peritoneal Drainage versus Laparotomy for Necrotizing Enterocolitis and Intestinal Perforation: A Meta-Analysis

Juan E. Sola, Joseph J. Tepas, Leonidas G. Koniaris

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Background: To determine whether peritoneal drain (PD) or laparotomy (LAP) is the most effective intervention in premature neonates with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) or intestinal perforation (IP). Methods: A systematic review of the published literature between January 2000 and December 2008 was undertaken. Prospective studies with at least 25 patients in each of the PD and LAP arms were selected. Gestational age, birth weight, operation, and mortality data were extracted. Results: Five prospective studies (two level I, three level II) with 523 (273 PD, 250 LAP) participants followed for mortality met selection criteria. Using a fixed effect model, the combined estimate indicates an increased mortality of 55% with PD (OR 1.55, 95% CI: 1.08-2.22, P = 0.02) without statistical heterogeneity (χ2 = 5.88, P = 0.21). PD patients were 0.78 wk younger (P = 0.0002) and 67g smaller (P = 0.0006). Analysis of the three level II trials yielded a combined estimate indicating an excess mortality of 89% with PD patients (95% CI: 1.20-2.98, P = 0.006) without statistical heterogeneity (χ2 = 3.74, P = 0.15). Conclusions: PD is associated with 55% excess mortality compared with LAP. Pediatric surgeons must individually assess and select patients with NEC and IP for optimal surgical therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-100
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 1 2010


  • intestinal perforation
  • laparotomy
  • meta-analysis
  • necrotizing enterocolitis
  • neonatal surgery
  • peritoneal drainage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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