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April 1988

Occult Blood in Stools and Necrotizing Enterocolitis: Is There a Relationship?

Am J Dis Child. 1988;142(4):451-452. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1988.02150040105030

• A prospective study was undertaken to determine the incidence of occult hematochezia in enterally fed low-birth-weight neonates (<1800 g at birth). The relationship of this occult hematochezia to the development of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) was then analyzed. Daily stool specimens from 95 neonates were tested for occult blood during the first six weeks of life. Fifty-four (58%) of the 95 neonates had one or more blood-positive stools. Six neonates (6.3%) developed NEC. Necrotizing enterocolitis occurred in only two of the 54 neonates with one or more blood-positive stools vs four of the 41 neonates with blood-negative stools only. Presence of occult blood in the stools did not correlate with development of NEC.

(AJDC 1988;142:451-452)