Role of Abdominal US in Diagnosis of NEC

Clin Perinatol. 2019 Mar;46(1):119-127. doi: 10.1016/j.clp.2018.10.006. Epub 2018 Dec 20.


Current assessment for and diagnosis of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) remain inadequate. The introduction of interrogating bowel with ultrasound when NEC is suspected or when NEC has occurred presents greater opportunity to characterize the physical changes that have occurred in the bowel wall structures. The evaluation of bowel by ultrasound has been shown to have high specificity for bowel necrosis. There are current barriers in adoption of these techniques because they have not been integrated into routine diagnostic imaging and are not well incorporated in neonatal medicine.

Keywords: Bowel ultrasound; Necrotizing enterocolitis; Pneumatosis intestinalis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Clinical Decision-Making
  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing / diagnosis
  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Intestinal Perforation / diagnosis
  • Intestinal Perforation / diagnostic imaging*
  • Intestines / blood supply
  • Intestines / diagnostic imaging*
  • Peristalsis
  • Radiography, Abdominal
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Ultrasonography
  • Workflow