Laparotomy vs. Drainage for Infants With Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEST)

This study is currently recruiting participants. (see Contacts and Locations)
Verified November 2015 by NICHD Neonatal Research Network
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
National Center for Research Resources (NCRR)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
NICHD Neonatal Research Network Identifier:
First received: December 9, 2009
Last updated: November 10, 2015
Last verified: November 2015

December 9, 2009
November 10, 2015
January 2010
September 2016   (final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Death or neurodevelopmental impairment [ Time Frame: Up to 18-22 months corrected age ] [ Designated as safety issue: Yes ]
Same as current
Complete list of historical versions of study NCT01029353 on Archive Site
  • Surgical complications [ Time Frame: Up to 18-22 months corrected age ] [ Designated as safety issue: Yes ]
  • Number of surgical procedures [ Time Frame: Up to 18-22 months corrected age ] [ Designated as safety issue: Yes ]
  • Sepsis episodes [ Time Frame: Up to 18-22 months corrected age ] [ Designated as safety issue: Yes ]
  • Duration of parenteral nutrition [ Time Frame: Up to 18-22 months corrected age ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
  • Parenteral nutrition associated cholestasis [ Time Frame: Up to 18-22 months corrected age ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
  • Length of hospital stay [ Time Frame: Until hospital discharge ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
  • Rehospitalizations [ Time Frame: Up to 18-22 months corrected age ] [ Designated as safety issue: Yes ]
Same as current
Not Provided
Not Provided
Laparotomy vs. Drainage for Infants With Necrotizing Enterocolitis
A Multi-center Randomized Trial of Laparotomy vs. Drainage as the Initial Surgical Therapy for ELBW Infants With Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) or Isolated Intestinal Perforation (IP): Outcomes at 18-22 Months Adjusted Age
This trial will compare the effectiveness of two surgical procedures -laparotomy versus drainage - commonly used to treat necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) or isolated intestinal perforations (IP) in extremely low birth weight infants (≤1,000 g). Infants diagnosed with NEC or IP requiring surgical intervention, will be recruited. Subjects will be randomized to receive either a laparotomy or peritoneal drainage. Primary outcome is impairment-free survival at 18-22 months corrected age.

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a condition, generally affecting premature infants, in which the intestines become ischemic (lack oxygen and/or blood flow). NEC occurs in up to 5-15% of extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants. Isolated or focal intestinal perforation (IP) is a less common condition, affecting an estimated 4% of ELBWs, in which a hole develops in the intestines leaking fluid into the abdominal cavity. Outcome for infants with NEC and/or IP is poor: 49% die and half of the surviving infants are neurodevelopmentally impaired.

Surgical options for NEC and IP include two possible procedures: peritoneal drainage, in which a tube is placed in the abdominal cavity through a small incision for fluid to drain out; or laparotomy, in which an incision is made in the abdomen and necrotic intestine is removed. Drainage may be followed by a laparotomy.

The Neonatal Research Network's observational study of 156 ELBW infants with NEC or IP (Pediatrics. 2006 Apr; 117(4): e680-7) showed comparable outcomes for the two procedures before hospital discharge, but suggested an advantage of laparotomy over drainage at 18-22 months corrected age with lower rates of death or neurodevelopmental impairment. However, the infants that underwent laparotomy were more mature; infants with drains were smaller and more premature. We hypothesize that initial laparotomy may improve an infant's long-term neurodevelopmental outcome, potentially by reducing the maximum severity or duration of inflammation.

This study is a randomized controlled trial to compare the effectiveness of laparotomy versus drainage for treating NEC or IP in extremely low birth weight infants. Target enrollment is 300 infants diagnosed with NEC or IP for randomization to receive initially either a laparotomy or drainage. Subsequent laparotomies may be performed on infants in either group, if their condition continues to deteriorate. Surviving infants will return for a follow-up assessment at 18-22 months corrected age.

This trial uses a comprehensive cohort design that adds to the conventional randomized trial design, as a secondary specific aim. In addition to collecting detailed information on the randomized infants, we will also collect information on non-randomized infants with NEC/IP who are officially enrolled into a preference cohort.

Not Provided
Allocation: Randomized
Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Treatment
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Small for Gestational Age
  • Infant, Premature
  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing
  • Intestinal Perforation
  • Procedure: Laparotomy
    Initial laparotomy will be performed. Standard procedures will be used, including inspection of the bowel with removal of diseased areas, creation of stoma(s), and other procedures deemed indicated by the surgeon.
  • Procedure: Drainage
    Initial drainage will involve placing a Penrose drain in the abdomen.
    Other Name: Peritoneal drain
  • Active Comparator: Laparotomy
    Intervention: Procedure: Laparotomy
  • Active Comparator: Peritoneal drain placement
    Intervention: Procedure: Drainage
Not Provided

*   Includes publications given by the data provider as well as publications identified by Identifier (NCT Number) in Medline.
July 2018
September 2016   (final data collection date for primary outcome measure)

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Infants born at ≤1,000 g birth weight
  • Infant is ≤8 0/7 weeks of age at the time of eligibility assessment
  • Pediatric surgeon decision to perform surgery for suspected NEC or IP
  • Subject is at a center able to perform both laparotomy and drainage

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Major anomaly that influences likelihood of developing primary outcome or affects surgical treatment considerations
  • Congenital infection
  • Prior laparotomy or peritoneal drain placement
  • Prior NEC or IP
  • Infant for whom full support is not being provided
  • Follow-up unlikely
up to 8 Weeks
Contact: Martin L. Blakely, MD 615-936-7211
Contact: Rosemary D. Higgins, MD 301-496-5575
United States
NICHD-NRN-0039, U10HD021364, U10HD021373, U10HD021385, U10HD027851, U10HD027853, U10HD027856, U10HD027871, U10HD027880, U10HD027904, U10HD034216, U10HD036790, U10HD040492, U10HD040689, U10HD053089, U10HD053109, U10HD053119, U10HD053124, UL1RR024139, UL1RR025744, UL1RR025764, UL1RR025777, M01RR008084, UL1RR024979, U10HD068284, U10HD068278, U10HD068270, U10HD068263, U10HD068244
Not Provided
Not Provided
NICHD Neonatal Research Network
NICHD Neonatal Research Network
  • Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
  • National Center for Research Resources (NCRR)
Principal Investigator: Abbot R. Laptook, MD Brown University, Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island
Principal Investigator: Michele C. Walsh, MD MS Case Western Reserve University, Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital
Principal Investigator: Ronald N. Goldberg, MD Duke University
Principal Investigator: Barbara J. Stoll, MD Emory University
Principal Investigator: Brenda B. Poindexter, MD MS Indiana University
Principal Investigator: Abhik Das, PhD RTI International
Principal Investigator: Krisa P. Van Meurs, MD Stanford University
Principal Investigator: Ivan D. Frantz III, MD Tufts Medical Center
Principal Investigator: Kurt Schibler, MD Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati
Principal Investigator: Waldemar A. Carlo, MD University of Alabama at Birmingham
Principal Investigator: Edward F. Bell, MD University of Iowa
Principal Investigator: Kristi L. Watterberg, MD University of New Mexico
Principal Investigator: Pablo J. Sanchez, MD University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas
Principal Investigator: Kathleen A. Kennedy, MD MPH The University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston
Principal Investigator: Roger G. Faix, MD University of Utah
Principal Investigator: Seetha Shankaran, MD Wayne State University
Principal Investigator: Richard A. Ehrenkranz, MD Yale University
Study Director: Martin K. Blakely, MD University of Tennessee Health Science Center
Principal Investigator: William Truog, MD Children's Mercy Hospital Kansas City
Principal Investigator: Barbara Schmidt, MD, MSc Univeristy of Pennsylvania
Principal Investigator: Carl D'Angio, MD University of Rochester
Principal Investigator: Uday Devaskar, MD University of Carlifornia - Los Angeles
Principal Investigator: Leif Nelin, MD Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital
NICHD Neonatal Research Network
November 2015

ICMJE     Data element required by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors and the World Health Organization ICTRP