Necrotizing enterocolitis is a serious disease that occurs when the intestinal tissue become damaged and begins to die. It most often affects premature infants. Common symptoms include bloating or swelling in the abdomen, bloody stools, and diarrhea. It’s important to call your baby’s doctor right away if their showing symptoms of necrotizing enterocolitis. The condition can become life-threatening if it’s not treated.
HOW IS NECROTIZING ENTEROCOLITIS DIAGNOSED?
Pediatricians diagnose Necrotizing Enterocolitis in the infant based on symptoms and physical examination. The abdomen area is gently pressed to check for pain, bloating and tenderness. An abdominal X-ray is performed to get detailed images of intestine. The stool guaiac test is performed to look for blood.
HOW IS NECROTIZING ENTEROCOLITIS TREATED?
Treatment for a baby who may have necrotizing enterocolitis most often includes:
• Halting enteral (GI tract) feedings
• Relieving gas in the bowel by inserting a tube in the stomach
• Giving IV fluids and nutrition
• Giving IV antibiotics
• Monitoring the condition with abdominal x-rays, blood tests, and measurement of blood gases
DID YOU KNOW?
Babies at higher risk for the condition include:
• Premature infants
• Infants who are fed formula rather than human milk. (Human milk contains growth factors, antibodies and immune cells which may help prevent the problem.)
• Infants in a nursery where an outbreak has occurred
• Infants who have received blood exchange transfusions or have been seriously ill