What are the signs and symptoms of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC)?

Updated: Oct 02, 2017
  • Author: David A Piccoli, MD; Chief Editor: Carmen Cuffari, MD  more...
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Answer

Patients with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) may exhibit a wide spectrum of illness, ranging from mild disease with only guaiac-positive stools to severe disease with peritonitis, perforation, shock, coagulopathy, and death. The onset is usually insidious, but illness may progress rapidly. The first sign is abdominal distention with gastric retention, emesis, and discomfort. Illness may progress to hemodynamic compromise. A plain film radiograph of the abdomen can assist in the diagnosis.


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