Infant Journal
for neonatal and paediatric healthcare professionals

Rusty pipe syndrome: a case report

Rusty pipe syndrome is a rare but benign self-limiting condition characterised by spontaneous, painless, bilateral bloody nipple discharge in lactating mothers. This can cause significant anxiety for mothers and caregivers. We report on the case of a term newborn who was admitted to the neonatal unit because of respiratory distress. Expressed breast milk from the mother on day 1 was brownish blood stained. The bloody discolouration of the milk improved from the second day and cleared by day 4.

Ashok Zachariah Mathews1
Consultant Neonatologist

Samuel Ibhanesebhor1,2
Consultant Neonatologist

Mahitab Khalil1
Registrar, Neonatology

Chikkanayakanahalli Manjunatha1
Consultant Neonatologist

1Royale Hayat Hospital, Jabrya, Kuwait
2Igbinedion University, Nigeria

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infant nutrition; breastfeeding; neonatal health; paediatrics; rusty pipe syndrome
Key points
  1. Rusty pipe syndrome is an uncommon and benign self-limiting condition.
  2. Blood-stained breast milk can be alarming for lactating women and caregivers.
  3. Awareness of this condition as benign among healthcare professionals will ensure appropriate support is provided, eg lactation counselling to relieve anxiety, reduce unnecessary investi-gations and avoid the inappropriate introduction of formula feeds.

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