The Epidemiology of Necrotizing Enterocolitis Infant Mortality in the United States

Am J Public Health. 1997 Dec;87(12):2026-31. doi: 10.2105/ajph.87.12.2026.


Objectives: This study examined trends and risk factors for infant mortality associated with necrotizing enterocolitis in the United States.

Methods: Necrotizing enterocolitis-associated deaths and infant mortality rates from 1979 through 1992 were determined by means of US multiple cause-of-death and linked birth/infant death data.

Results: Annual necrotizing enterocolitis infant mortality rates decreased from 1979 through 1986 but increased thereafter and were lower during the 3-year period before (1983 through 1985;11.5 per 100,000 live births) the introduction of surfactants than after (1990 through 1992; 12.3 per 100,000). Low-birthweight singleton infants who were Black male, or born to mothers younger than 17 had increased risk for necrotizing enterocolitis-associated death.

Conclusions: As mortality among low-birth weight infants continues to decline and smaller newborns survive early causes of death, necrotizing enterocolitis-associated infant mortality may increase.

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Birth Certificates
  • Birth Weight
  • Cause of Death / trends*
  • Continental Population Groups
  • Death Certificates
  • Enterocolitis, Pseudomembranous / drug therapy
  • Enterocolitis, Pseudomembranous / mortality*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Mortality / trends*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Population Surveillance
  • Pulmonary Surfactants / therapeutic use
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Pulmonary Surfactants