What is the role of abdominal radiography in the diagnosis of 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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The mainstay of diagnostic imaging

An AP and a left lateral decubitus view are essential for initial evaluation

Should be performed serially at 6-hour or greater intervals, depending on presentation acuity and clinical course, to assess disease progression

Characteristic findings on AP views include an abnormal gas pattern, dilated loops, and thickened bowel walls

A fixed and dilated loop that persists over several examinations is especially worrisome

Scarce or absent intestinal gas is more worrisome than diffuse distention that changes over time

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