What is the prognosis of omphalitis?

Updated: May 20, 2019
  • Author: Patrick G Gallagher, MD; Chief Editor: Santina A Zanelli, MD  more...
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The prognosis for infants with omphalitis varies.

Outcome is usually favorable in infants with uncomplicated omphalitis associated with cellulitis of the anterior abdominal wall. In a study by Sawin and colleagues, no deaths occurred among 32 infants with omphalitis in the absence of necrotizing fasciitis and myonecrosis. [33] The mortality rate among all infants with omphalitis, including those who develop complications, is estimated at 7%-15%. The mortality rate is significantly higher (38%-87%) after the development of necrotizing fasciitis or myonecrosis. Suggested risk factors for poor prognosis include male sex, prematurity or being small for gestational age, and septic delivery (including unplanned home delivery); however, data are limited and conclusions cannot be drawn regarding the role of these factors in the mortality rate.


The sequelae of omphalitis may be associated with significant morbidity and mortality. These include necrotizing fasciitis; myonecrosis; sepsis; septic embolization; and, particularly, endocarditis and liver abscess formation, abdominal complications (eg, spontaneous evisceration, peritonitis, bowel obstruction, abdominal or retroperitoneal abscess, abscess of the falciform ligament), and death. [34, 35, 36, 37]

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