Posted by : Ed Lott, Ph.D., M.B.A.
Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) is a serious condition that stems from a gastrointestinal problem primarily found in infants that are formula-fed. NEC affects premature babies within the first six weeks following birth. In most instances, the condition causes intestinal tissue to die, as well as a hole to form in the infant’s intestine. NEC could also cause serious abdominal infections.
While in some cases NEC is treatable and mild enough that it is not life-threatening, other cases are more extreme and could result in death. NEC primarily affects premature babies who are formula-fed that were born before the 37th week of pregnancy and that weigh less than 5 ½ pounds at birth. It is known to affect about 1 in 1,000 premature babies; however, the risk is heightened if the baby weighs under two pounds at birth.
Babies who drink Enfamil and Similac baby formula also have a dramatically increased chance of contracting NEC. Researchers have found that this is because they are both cow’s milk-based formulas. Additionally, although they are aware that they could cause damage to premature babies, Similac and Enfamil have not put an NEC warning label on their products yet. As a result, parents of infant children diagnosed with NEC are filing both product liability and wrongful death lawsuits against Similac and Enfamil.
What Are the Types of Necrotizing Enterocolitis?
There are four main types of NEC that range in symptoms and overall severity. The four different types include classic, transfusion-associated, atypical, and term infant.
Classic NEC is the most common type that primarily impacts babies born before 28 weeks. Classic NEC typically begins affecting babies between three to six weeks post-birth, and appears suddenly.
Transfusion-associated NEC comes when an infant has anemia and needs a blood transfusion. In most cases, after the blood transfusion is initiated, that is when transfusion-associated NEC could occur. One in three babies who have had a blood transfusion could contract this condition within three days
Atypical NEC gets its name because it is very rare that an infant develops NEC during their first week of life. Additionally, atypical NEC could develop before the baby’s first feed as well. Both of these situations are very rare.
Term NEC exists when a full-term baby contracts NEC. One of the primary factors that leads to term NEC is when the baby is born with a birth defect. Three of the core causes of this condition include gastroschisis, low oxygen levels at birth, and a congenital heart condition.
What Are the Typical Symptoms of NEC?
It is important to note that NEC symptoms differ from case to case. With that being said, some of the most prominent symptoms to look out for following the first two weeks of birth are a swollen or bloated belly, green fluid in the stomach, bloody stools, and trouble breathing.
Treatment Methods for NEC
There are two main treatment methods for NEC: nasogastric tube and antibiotics. A nasogastric tube is typically inserted through the nose, and the primary purpose of the tube is to suction out gas and fluid in the stomach. Antibiotics are used as a treatment in the hopes that they may effectively fight the bacterial infections causing NEC. Another possible treatment could be surgery to remove the dead tissue and repair the hole in the baby’s intestine. Although many different treatments may be effective in helping a child survive NEC, there are cases where the disease is deadly.
The post What Could Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) Mean for Families? appeared first on National Record Retrieval.
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