What are the disease characteristics 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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Necrotizing enterocolitis affects the gastrointestinal tract and, in severe cases, can cause profound impairment of multiple organ systems. Initial symptoms may be subtle and can include 1 or more of the following (See Presentation.):

  • Feeding intolerance

  • Delayed gastric emptying

  • Abdominal distention, abdominal tenderness, or both

  • Ileus/decreased bowel sounds

  • Abdominal wall erythema (advanced stages)

  • Hematochezia

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