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Use of neonatal intensive care unit as a safe place for neonatal surgery
  1. Antonio W D Gavilanesa,
  2. Erik Heinemanb,
  3. Marcel J H M Herpersc,
  4. Carlos E Blancoa
  1. aDepartment of Neonatology, University Hospital Maastricht, The Netherlands, bDepartment of Paediatric Surgery, cDepartment of Neurosurgery
  1. Dr AWD Gavilanes, Department of Paediatrics, Division of Neonatology, PO Box 5800, 6202 AZ Maastricht, The Netherlands.


AIM To evaluate the advantages, disadvantages, and short term morbidity and mortality of major surgical interventions performed in the neonatal intensive care unit.

METHODS A retrospective case review of 45 neonates was performed from April 1991 to September 1995. The characteristics of the patients were: gestational age 29 (SD 4) weeks (range 24 to 41 weeks); birthweight 1305 (870) g ( range 540 to 4040 g); presurgical weight 1430 (895) g ( range 550 to 4370 g); postconceptional age at surgery 31 (4) weeks (26 to 47 weeks). The indications for surgery were: ligation of patent ductus arteriosus (n=16); insertion of a subcutaneous ventricular catheter reservoir for hydrocephalus (n=14); repair of congenital diaphragmatic hernia (n=2); open lung biopsy (n=1); and laparotomies (because of necrotising enterocolitis, anorectal malformations, and intestinal obstructions) (n=12). The management of these neonates at laparotomy was: bowel resection with stomas (n=8) and stomas (n=4). No specially designed area was used to perform surgery.

RESULTS Local or systemic infection associated with surgery was not seen and no perioperative mortality was related to the surgical procedure.

CONCLUSIONS The neonatal intensive care unit is suitable for major surgery during the neonatal period and no special area is needed to perform complication free surgery.

  • neonatal surgery
  • neonatal intensive care
  • perioperative mortality.

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