Necrotizing Enterocolitis: Long Term Complications

Curr Pediatr Rev. 2019;15(2):115-124. doi: 10.2174/1573396315666190312093119.


Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) remains the most threatening gastrointestinal complication of prematurity leading to high mortality, morbidity and cost. Common complications of NEC include neurodevelopmental delay, failure to thrive, gastrointestinal problems including strictures and adhesions, cholestasis, short bowel syndrome with or without intestinal failure that can be difficult to manage. Infants who develop NEC benefit from close follow-up for early diagnosis and treatment of complications. Those who present with severe complications such as intestinal failure benefit from a multidisciplinary approach involving careful assessment and treatment. Studies done so far are limited in providing a long-term prognosis. Here we review some of these complications. More studies with a longer follow-up period are needed to better understand the later comorbidities that develop in babies with NEC.

Keywords: Necrotizing enterocolitis; adhesions; cholestasis; complications; intestinal failure; spontaneous intestinal perforation..

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Developmental Disabilities / physiopathology*
  • Developmental Disabilities / therapy
  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing / complications
  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing / physiopathology*
  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing / therapy
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases
  • Postoperative Complications / physiopathology*
  • Postoperative Complications / therapy
  • Short Bowel Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Short Bowel Syndrome / therapy
  • Treatment Outcome