Necrotizing enterocolitis is among the most common and devastating diseases in neonates. It has also been one of the most difficult to eradicate 1 and thus has become a priority for research. The excessive inflammatory process initiated in the highly immunoreactive intestine in necrotizing enterocolitis extends the effects of the disease systemically, affecting distant organs such as the brain and placing affected infants at substantially increased risk for neurodevelopmental delays. In one study, 12 infants with necrotizing enterocolitis were hospitalized 60 days longer than unaffected preterm infants if surgery was required and more than 20 days longer if surgery was not necessary.
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Necrotizing enterocolitis NEC is a serious illness in newborns. It happens when tissue in the large intestine colon gets inflamed. Any newborn can get NEC. This is especially true for babies who weigh less than 3 pounds, 4 ounces 1, grams. It is rare in older, larger babies.
The smaller and earlier the baby, the higher the risk for NEC. Doctors don't know what causes NEC. Bacteria from the environment can damage the tender tissues.
This can harm the tissues and cause them to die. When this happens, a hole forms in the intestine. Premature babies are less mature than full-term babies. This means they may have trouble with blood and oxygen circulation. Their body is not always ready for digestion and fighting infections. This increases their chance of having NEC. Human milk is easier to digest. It also contains substances that help fight infection and help intestinal cells mature. Babies who had a difficult birth or low oxygen levels at birth are more likely to get NEC.
When there is too little oxygen, the body sends blood and oxygen to the brain and heart first. This reduces the blood flow to the intestinal tract. This can cause less oxygen in blood to reach the colon. Each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms usually show up in the first 2 weeks of life. They may include:. The symptoms of NEC may be similar to symptoms of other conditions. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Your child may need an abdominal X-ray. It will also depend on how severe the condition is. Treatment may include:. Giving extra oxygen or using a breathing machine. This causes an infection. This can harm a small or large part of the intestine. It can happen quickly. An infection in the intestines is hard for a baby to fight. Even with treatment, there may be serious problems. Some of these issues include:. Not being able to absorb food and nutrients.
No one knows what causes NEC. Studies show that babies who only have breastmilk, instead of formula, are less likely to get this condition. Also starting feedings after a baby is stable and slowly increasing how much he or she eats may also help.
NEC is a serious illness in very sick, usually premature newborns. At the visit, write down the name of a new diagnosis, and any new medicines, treatments, or tests. Also write down any new instructions your provider gives you for your child.
Know why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed and how it will help your child. Also know what the side effects are. If your child has a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit. This is important if your child becomes ill and you have questions or need advice.
Necrotizing Enterocolitis in the Newborn
Necrotizing enterocolitis NEC is a serious illness in newborns. It happens when tissue in the large intestine colon gets inflamed. Any newborn can get NEC. This is especially true for babies who weigh less than 3 pounds, 4 ounces 1, grams. It is rare in older, larger babies. The smaller and earlier the baby, the higher the risk for NEC. Doctors don't know what causes NEC.
Necrotizing enterocolitis NEC is a medical condition where a portion of the bowel dies. The exact cause is unclear. Prevention includes the use of breast milk and probiotics. The condition is typically seen in premature infants, and the timing of its onset is generally inversely proportional to the gestational age of the baby at birth i. Initial symptoms include feeding intolerance and failure to thrive , increased gastric residuals, abdominal distension and bloody stools. Symptoms may progress rapidly to abdominal discoloration with intestinal perforation and peritonitis and systemic hypotension requiring intensive medical support. The diagnosis is usually suspected clinically but often requires the aid of diagnostic imaging modalities, most commonly radiography.
The journal accepts articles in Spanish or in English on the field of hospital medicine. The journal publishes original articles, clinical cases, reviews articles, history notes, issues on medical education, short communications and editorials at the invitation of the Society. All articles are double blind peer reviewed by at least 2 reviewers and finally classified as accepted or rejected by the Editorial Board. Necrotising enterocolitis NEC is an acute inflammatory condition of the colon involving a wide range of diseases with one end result: necrosis.