Neonatology pp 1373-1393 | Cite as

Necrotizing Enterocolitis of Newborns

  • Sarah BajorekEmail author
  • Josef Neu
Reference work entry


The disease necrotizing enterocolitis (“NEC”) was first described over 150 years ago, however a major emphasis on understanding its pathogenesis and treatment has only burgeoned within the past 40 years (Obladen Neonatology 2009;96(4):203–210). NEC is a devastating process often progressing to death or severe morbidity within 24 hours of exhibiting initial symptoms. Currently, no clear definition of NEC exists. NEC has been a catchall term encompassing multiple pathophysiologic pathways leading to intestinal necrosis commonly seen in preterm infants. This heterogeneity and lack of a clear definition has contributed to confusion in our understanding of the pathogenesis of the most common forms of this disease. Understanding the most common form, “classical” NEC and the ability to separate that disease from other causes of intestinal damage that are termed “NEC” is important for diagnosis, prevention, and treatment. It is imperative to focus research efforts on the pathogenesis of classical NEC. We also need to find biomarkers that can be obtained noninvasively that are highly sensitive and specific and predict severity, in order to identify NEC early if we are to prevent its occurrence or be able to treat it before it progresses. This chapter will provide an overview of current concepts of NEC, including diagnosis, pathogenesis, prevention, and treatment options. Also highlighted are potential areas of future research.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pediatrics, Division of NeonatologyUniversity of Florida, College of MedicineGainesvilleUSA

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