What is the incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) in the US?

Updated: Dec 27, 2017
  • Author: Shelley C Springer, JD, MD, MSc, MBA, FAAP; Chief Editor: Muhammad Aslam, MD  more...
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The frequency of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) varies among nurseries, without correlation with season or geographic location. Outbreaks of NEC seem to follow an epidemic pattern within nurseries, suggesting an infectious etiology, although a specific causative organism has not been isolated.

Population studies conducted in the United States over the past 25 years indicate a relatively stable incidence, ranging from 0.3-2.4 cases per 1000 live births. The disease classically presents among the smallest preterm infants. Although it is reported among term infants with perinatal asphyxia or congenital heart disease, differences in severity and outcome suggest presentation in this population may represent a distinct pathophysiologic entity. [10]

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