Reducing necrotizing enterocolitis in very low birth weight infants using quality-improvement methods

A. L. Patel*, S. Trivedi, N. P. Bhandari, A. Ruf, C. M. Scala, G. Witowitch, Y. Chen, C. Renschen, P. P. Meier, J. M. Silvestri

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Owing to a rise in necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC, stage ≥ 2) among very low birth weight (VLBW, birth weight <1500 g) infants from 4% in 2005 to 2006 to 10% in 2007 to 2008, we developed and implemented quality improvement (QI) initiatives. The objective was to evaluate the impact of QI initiatives on NEC incidence in VLBW infants. STUDY DESIGN: In September 2009, we developed an NEC QI multidisciplinary team that conducted literature reviews and reviewed practices from other institutions to develop a feeding protocol, which was implemented in December 2009. The team tracked intervention compliance and occurrence of NEC stage ≥ 2. In May 2010, we reviewed our nasogastric tube practice and relevant literature to develop a second intervention that reduced nasogastric tube indwelling time. The infants were divided into three groups: baseline (January 2008 to Novovember 2009, n219), QI phase 1 (December 2009 to May 2010, n62) and QI phase 2 (June 2010 to November 2011, n170). RESULT: The NEC incidence did not decrease after implementation of the feeding protocol in QI phase 1 (19.4%) but did decline significantly after changing nasogastric tube management in QI phase 2 (2.9%). Multivariable logistic regression analysis demonstrated a significant relationship between QI phase and the incidence of NEC. CONCLUSION: QI initiatives were effective in decreasing NEC incidence in our high human milk-feeding NICU. Nasogastric tube bacterial contamination may have contributed to our peak in NEC incidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)850-857
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Perinatology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jul 10 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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