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Long Term Outcome of Infants with NEC

[ Vol. 15 , Issue. 2 ]


Silvana Federici and Lorenzo De Biagi*   Pages 111 - 114 ( 4 )


Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is an important complication for premature newborns. Infants who survive NEC have a greater possibility of poor long-term physiological and neurodevelopmental growth.

The objective of this paper is to give a comprehensive description of the long-term consequences of NEC. Despite the rise in incidence of NEC there is a scarcity of data regarding long-term outcomes of these infants that can be divided into two groups. The first group includes gastrointestinal complications that could occur in relation to the bowel disease, the surgical treatment and quality of the residual bowel. These complications are strictures and short bowel syndrome (SBS).

Intestinal strictures are a common occurance after recovery from NEC that should be investigated with a contrast study in case of suspicious clinical findings of bowel obstruction or before reversal ostomy. After this diagnostic investigation, if a stricture is detected in a symptomatic patient, resection of the affected loop of bowel with anastomosis is required. SBS is the result of a massive intestinal resection or of a dysfunctional residual bowel and it can occur in a fourth of patients affected by NEC.

The second group includes neurodevelopmental impairment and growth.

Neurodevelopmental outcomes of patients after NEC recovery have not been widely reported.

Infants with NEC is a population of patients at high risk for adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes whose cause can be multifactorial and linked to perinatal events, severity of disease, surgical treatment and its complications and hospitalization. Understanding the morbidity of NEC with a longterm follow-up would aid neonatologists and pediatric surgeons to make informed decisions in providing care for these patients. Further research on this topic is needed.


Necrotizing enterocolitis, outcome, strictures, short bowel syndrome, neurodevelopmental impairment, growth.


Pediatric Surgery Unit, INFERMI Hospital, Rimini, Pediatric Surgery Unit, INFERMI Hospital, Rimini

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