BACKGROUND: Reduced intestinal perfusion is thought to be a part of the pathogenesis in necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). This study aims to evaluate the intestinal perfusion assessment in NEC-lesions by quantitative fluorescence angiography with indocyanine green (q-ICG) during laparoscopy and open surgery.

METHODS: Thirty-four premature piglets were delivered by cesarean section and fed with parenteral nutrition and increasing infant formula volumes to induce NEC. During surgery, macroscopic NEC-lesions were evaluated using a validated macroscopic scoring system (1-6 for increasing NEC severity). The intestinal perfusion was assessed by q-ICG and quantified with a validated pixel intensity computer algorithm.

RESULTS: Significantly higher perfusion values were found in healthy areas of the colon (score 1) compared to those with NEC scores of 4, 5, and 6 (p < 0.05). Similarly, in the small intestine, perfusion was higher in the intestine with areas scored 1 compared to scores of 3 and 4 (p < 0.05). A cut-off value was found between NEC score of 1-2 vs. 3-4 for the small intestine at 117 and for colon at 107 between NEC scores 12 vs. scores of 36 with an area less than the curve value at 0.9 (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: q-ICG seems to be a feasible and valuable technique to evaluate the perfusion of tissue with NEC-lesions. We found a cut-off between intestine with scores 1-2 and intestine with NEC scores 3-6 in colon, and NEC score 3-4 in the small intestine.


Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)747-752
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


  • Indocyanine green
  • Intestinal viability
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis
  • Neonates
  • Perfusion


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