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September 1980

Fetal Heart Rate Patterns in Infants in Whom Necrotizing Enterocolitis Develops: A Preliminary Report

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Drs Braly and Garite) and the Department of Surgery, Division of Pediatric Surgery (Dr German), University of California Irvine Medical Center, Orange, Calif.

Arch Surg. 1980;115(9):1050-1053. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1980.01380090030008

• Perinatal changes in fetal heart rate (FHR) were monitored in infants in whom necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) developed. Eleven of 16 monitoring strips indicated severe FHR changes consistent with perinatal hypoxia, two indicated mild changes, two indicated tachycardia alone, and only one was normal. Severe variable FHR decelerations indicating umbilical cord compression occurred in four cases, persistent late FHR decelerations occurred in two cases, persistent late and severe variable FHR decelerations occurred in two cases, prolonged bradycardia occurred in two cases, and bradycardia with persistent late FHR decelerations occurred in one case. These findings confirm that NEC does occur in infants with perinatal hypoxia and indicate that intestinal ischemia may occur before delivery and after delivery from hypoxia and acidosis from lung disease, exchange transfusion, or sepsis. Perinatal monitoring may become an important determinant in identifying the infant in whom NEC will develop.

(Arch Surg 115:1050-1053, 1980)

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