Aims A raised post-operative CRP is a source of great anxiety for surgeons and neonatologists. This study aims to assess the post-operative CRP response in neonates who undergo surgery in order to describe a normal physiological response to surgical trauma. This is compared to post-operative changes in neonates undergoing surgery specifically for NEC and neonates who develop surgical complications.
Methods A retrospective study was performed over a one year period (2010) analyzing consecutive neonates undergoing surgery. Daily WCC, platelet count and C-reactive protein measurements were analyzed on consecutive post-operative days in three distinct subgroups: control, surgical complications group and NEC.
Results There was a total of 81 patients (see Table 1).
As shown in Graph 1 the post-operative CRP values for the control group and complications group were significantly different throughout the 12 day time period (p=0.01, Mann-Whitney U test). The CRP values for the control group were also significantly lower than the NEC group (p=0.0001, Mann-Whitney U test).
Conclusion The post-operative CRP trend was more important than a single result. This study quantified a physiological CRP change in response to surgery in neonates. In particular, there was a significantly different CRP response in neonates who developed a post-operative complication.