Bilious emesis in a neonate, even one who appears well, deserves your concern - Sean M Fox
image by: NEC Society
Necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) is the most common gastro-intestinal emergency seen in preterm babies and is a common cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality. Management of acute NEC is complex...
NEC is far more common in babies born at less than 32 weeks’ gestation; it affects 1 in 13 babies born weighing <1,500 grams. NEC may occur term babies too although it is rare and usually associated with an underlying circulatory condition (e.g. congenital heart disease)...
Before we dive head first into the nitty gritty of it, let’s pause and think about which babies get NEC. Prematurity is by far the biggest risk factor but other risk factors include:
- A history…
Necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) is the most common gastro-intestinal emergency seen in preterm babies and is a common cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality.
The NEC Society represents a diverse global community dedicated to building a world without necrotizing enterocolitis.
Typically presents in 1st week of life (case reports to 6 months in chronically ill children). Extend suspicion longer in NICU graduates. Up to 10% of all cases of necrotizing enterocolitis are in full-term children.
NEC is the most common surgical emergency in the neonatal period. It is most common in underweight, pre-term infants fed with cow’s milk formula. NEC presents with blood in the stool, problems with feeding and abdominal distension.
Diagnosis is made by abdominal radiographs, which can show nonspecific findings including distension and thickened bowel wall. Pneumatosis intestinalis is pathognomonic for NEC, and is characterized by bowel wall lucencies.
Typically symptoms of NEC begin 8 to 10 days after birth, with a later onset among more premature infants.
NEC is the most common surgical emergency in newborn babies and tends to affect more babies born prematurely than those born full-term. NEC seems to becoming more common, but it is likely that this is because more premature babies are surviving.
NEC remains a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the neonatal intensive care unit despite significant advances in the care being provided to premature infants. It remains primarily a disease of prematurity
Signs and symptoms of NEC are non-specific and may include poor feeding, vomiting, lethargy, abdominal tenderness.
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