After birth, the umbilical cord falls off between 2-3 weeks. The mechanism of sepaparation includes necrosis, granulocyte invasion, infarction, drying, and collangenase activity. On the second day of life, there are usually polymorphonuclear cells and bacteria present on the umbilicus. The PMNs play some role in cord separation and there may be a delay of separation if there are chemotactic defects of these cells.(leukocyte adhesion deficiency LAD) Delay of separation of the cord in healthy neonates may be caused by urachal anomalies
The cord is colonized by organism from the vagina and caretakers' hands. The organisms most often cultured include:
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Streptococcus pyogenes
- Group B strep
- Gram negative organisms.
- Presence of inflammation of tissues surrounding the cord associated with redness, swelling, and tenderness. In certain instances, bullous impetigo lesions may be present too. There may be associated systemic symptoms such as fever, lethargy, and poor po intake.
- Normal cord may have accumulation of fluid between the stump and abdominal wall. This may be associated with a bad smell. There is no redness and treatment is to keep clean with alcohol.
- Granuloma- Delayed epithelialization of the cord stump may leave a dull grayish-pink granuloma that may ooze fluid. Should be cauterized with AgNO3 stick. The procedure may need to be repeated. After cauterizing, keep the diaper off the cord area temporarily.
- Culture of discharge will often reveal normal colonizing bacteria and there are no studies to show value of aspirating leading edge of the cellulitis.
- Must cover Staph. aureus and Strep. pyogenes.
- The route of administration is dependent on how the neonate looks clinically.
- without systemic symptoms, po antibiotics may be started. Awareness of MRSA prevalence in your community may determine which oral agent to start. Careful follow-up must be arranged to check for complications or lack of improvement
- If child appears ill, should perform septic workup and start an anti-staph drug combined with an aminoglycoside. If no improvement, consider MRSA as possible etiologic agent.
- Necrotizing fasciitis- may find crepitus and black discoloration. May need debridement
- Portal vein thrombosis- associated with portal hypertension. Watch for development of splenomegaly