What is Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC)?
Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) is a serious problem that mostly affects premature babies. The condition inflamed intestinal tissue, causing it to die. Basically it is a disease seen primarily in preterm infants.
In some ways, NEC is a byproduct of the successes experienced in neonatology wherein babies of low gestational age who would not have survived 30–40 years ago are now surviving.
NEC has emerged as one of the most powerful diseases occurring in neonatal intensive care. In addition to extremely high morbidity, mortality, high costs, and long-term complications include strictures, adhesions of the intestine, cholestasis, short bowel syndrome, failure to thrive, and neurodevelopmental delay.
In this kind of problem, a hole may form in the baby’s intestine which may cause the leak of Bacteria into the abdomen (belly) or bloodstream. NEC usually develops within two to six weeks after birth of a baby. But if we talk about cure of the disease, unfortunately not much progress has been made in its treatment or prevention.
After examining the literature, one might consider NEC to be a single, homogeneous entity, but it’s becoming clear that NEC is several different diseases or endotypes.
A better understanding of these differences is critical to our ability to diagnose these entities early with the development of appropriate predictive and diagnostic biomarkers for the individual diseases. In addition to improved diagnosis, individualized preventative and treatment strategies can be improved.
What are the intestines?
The small and large intestines are part of the digestive system. The intestines help turn food and liquids into waste. Your body removes this waste through poop.
Who might get Necrotizing Enterocolitis?
So here one question is who can be the victim of NEC? Well nearly all babies — 9 out of 10 — who get NEC are born early. The condition mostly affects babies:
- Born before the 37th week of pregnancy (premature babies).
- Fed through a tube in the stomach.
- Weighing less than 5 1/2 pounds at birth.
How common is Necrotizing Enterocolitis?
Basically, in premature infants, NEC is a common gastrointestinal illness. Like if we talk with statistics, then it affects 1 in 1,000 premature babies. The risk is greatest for babies weighing less than 2 pounds. The condition only rarely affects full-term infants. About 1 in 10,000 full-term babies get NEC.
What causes necrotizing Enterocolitis?
If we talk about the exact cause of NEC then healthcare providers also don’t know exactly what causes NEC. The immune system helps the body fight infections, but premature infants have weaker immune systems. When premature babies get an intestinal infection, their immune and digestive systems find it difficult to fight infections.
In premature babies, oxygen-carrying blood also has a harder time reaching the intestines. Diminished blood flow can damage intestinal tissue. This damage allows bacteria to leave the intestines and enter the abdominal cavity or bloodstream.
Why so many studies and so little progress?
So every time we speak about this disease, we think about the progress as well but over the past several decades, there seems to have been little progress in our prevention or treatment of the disease we call “NEC”.
There are two arguments that come to mind, one is that we are seeing a much greater survival of extremely preterm infants, who are also known to have a higher incidence of this disease. Another argument is that we do not have a clear definition of this disease and the criteria used 40 years ago probably do not fit clearly into the present-day neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) care.
For example, abdominal radiographic reports state there is a localized “bubbly” appearance, which may or may not correlate with clinical symptoms or other laboratory values. The bubbly appearance may be confused with stool in a normal intestine, primarily the colon. A follow-up film 6 h later is recommended to observe changes in position in the case of stool. If this radiographic finding persists on repeat radiographs taken within the first 24–48 h after the first film, and if this corresponds with clinical signs such as abdominal distension and elevated inflammatory markers, it is likely that this represents disease.
There are many other reasons underlying our lack of progress with NEC. As previously mentioned, NEC has been considered a homogeneous entity, but with different pathways contributing to its development. We can compare it with diabetes.
However, it is now clear that diabetes is heterogeneous consisting of not only type 1 and 2 disease but also different endotypes within type 1 diabetes. Similar to diabetes, even though NEC is considered under a homogeneous umbrella, there are several different entities seen in neonates that can lead to similar symptomatology; however, they require more personalized approaches for prevention and treatment.
Conclusion- If we see, this disease can be the result of using Similac and Enfamil and the baby who is diagnosed with the disease, parents can file for the NEC lawsuit. Even if your premature baby consumed baby formula in the hospital or somewhere, let us know, we at Lawyer4help take care of the rest.