Which lab findings suggest necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC)?

Updated: Dec 27, 2017
  • Author: Shelley C Springer, JD, MD, MSc, MBA, FAAP; Chief Editor: Muhammad Aslam, MD  more...
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Answer

Blood culture is usually negative

Hyponatremia – An acute decrease in serum sodium (<130 mEq/dL) is alarming

Low serum bicarbonate (<20) may be seen in babies with poor tissue perfusion, sepsis, and bowel necrosis

Reducing substances may be identified in the stool of formula-fed infants

A breath hydrogen test may be positive

Arterial blood gas levels may indicate the infant's need for respiratory support and can provide information on the acid-base status


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