Implementation of bowel ultrasound practice for the diagnosis and management of necrotising enterocolitis

Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2021 Jan;106(1):96-103. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2019-318382. Epub 2020 May 12.


Necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) is a serious inflammatory bowel disease of prematurity with potentially devastating complications and remains a leading cause of morbidity and mortality among premature infants. In recent years, there has been accumulating data regarding benefits of using bowel ultrasound (BUS) in the diagnosis and management of NEC. Despite this, adoption of robust BUS programmes into clinical practice has been slow. As BUS is a relatively new technique, many barriers to implementation exist, namely lack of education and training for sonographers and radiologists, low case volume and unfamiliarity by clinicians regarding how to use the information provided. The aim of this manuscript is to provide a framework and a roadmap for units to implement BUS in day-to-day practice for NEC diagnosis and management.

Keywords: gastroenterology; imaging; intensive care; multidisciplinary team-care; paediatric surgery.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Early Diagnosis
  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing / diagnosis
  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / diagnosis
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler / adverse effects
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler / methods*