Which studies are performed in the initial workup for 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

Initial presentation of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) usually includes subtle signs of feeding intolerance, such as gastric residuals, abdominal distention, and/or grossly bloody stools. Abdominal imaging studies are crucial at this stage. In fact, radiographic studies should be obtained if any concern about NEC is present.

Laboratory studies are pursued, especially if the abdominal study findings are worrisome or the baby is manifesting any systemic signs. Laboratory values can give insight into the severity of the disease and can aid in the provision of appropriate therapy.

However, although all of the initial laboratory studies taken together may aid in the diagnosis of NEC, they do not substitute for an appropriate appreciation of the clinical presentation and appearance of the infant.


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