A clinical perspective of necrotizing enterocolitis: past, present, and future

Clin Perinatol. 2013 Mar;40(1):27-51. doi: 10.1016/j.clp.2012.12.012. Epub 2013 Jan 17.


Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) primarily affects premature infants. It is less common in term and late preterm infants. The age of onset is inversely related to the postmenstrual age at birth. In term infants, NEC is commonly associated with congenital heart diseases. NEC has also been associated with other anomalies. More than 85% of all NEC cases occur in very low birth weight infants or in very premature infants. Despite incremental advances in our understanding of the clinical presentation and pathophysiology of NEC, universal prevention of this disease continues to elude us even in the twenty-first century.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age of Onset
  • Disease Management
  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing* / diagnosis
  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing* / epidemiology
  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature / physiology
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases* / therapy
  • Intestinal Perforation / diagnosis*
  • Intestines / diagnostic imaging
  • Intestines / microbiology
  • Intestines / physiopathology*
  • Pneumoperitoneum / diagnosis*
  • Prevalence
  • Radiography
  • Risk