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Antenatal antibiotic exposure in preterm infants with necrotizing enterocolitis



To determine whether an association exists between antenatal antibiotic exposure and incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) in low birth weight infants.

Study design

A retrospective case-control study was performed on all infants with a diagnosis of NEC born at our institition between 1988 and 2006. Medical histories of all infants with a diagnosis of NEC ≥Bell's stage IIA and matched controls without NEC were reviewed. Maternal and neonatal characteristics were compared using the Mantel-Haenszel chi-square procedure, and logistic regression models were constructed to account for confounding.


Clinical data for 97 matched pairs were analyzed. The adjusted odds ratio (OR) for antenatal exposure to ampicillin was significantly greater for infants who developed NEC (OR 2.3, 95% confidence interval 1.1, 4.8, P=0.003) than for control infants.


Infants who developed NEC were more likely to have a history of in utero exposure to ampicillin in the immediate antepartum period than infants who did not develop NEC.

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