Necrotizing Enterocolitis in the Premature Infant

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Necrotizing Enterocolitis in the Premature Infant

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is the most common disease of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) in premature infants and newborns and one of the most catastrophic comorbidities associated with prematurity. In spite of extensive research, the disease remains unsolved. NEC is classified depending on its severity into disease states according to the modified Bell's Classification.

If we talk about the treatment of NEC then depending on its severity it can be a conservative therapeutic approach to surgery with resection of the affected parts of the intestine. Mortality is considerably high in extremely small preterm infants reaching up to 42% of the affected children. Measures such as breastfeeding or alternatively nutrition with pasteurized human donor milk from a milk bank, administration of probiotics, avoidance of histamine type II receptor antagonists, and restrictive antibiotic treatment should be considered early on for prevention of NEC.

These infants require long term nursing care that is complicated and costly. The yearly additional hospital charges for NEC in the United States are estimated in excess of $6.5 million. Epidemiologic risk factors and clinical predictors have been explored; however, only prematurity has been identified as a consistent risk factor associated with NEC.

What causes it ?

The research is going on as doctors are also not sure. In premature babies lungs and intestines are weak and less mature then full term babies which are the result of lack of blood and oxygen. They also have problems breaking down their food and fighting infection.

Who’s at risk

Fortunately it is good that NEC is rare. It affects just one in 2,000 to 4,000 births. Now if we talk about the risk then it can happen in any newborn baby, but it’s most common in premature babies who weigh less than 3.25 lbs. Others who may be at risk include:

High-risk or premature babies in which, they are feed by mouth or tube

Those who had a difficult delivery or have lowered oxygen levels

Babies who have too many red blood cells in circulation

Babies with existing gastrointestinal infections

What are the symptoms ?

Not all the symptoms are same as they can differ from child to child. But there are some common symptoms in NEC baby and it will normally develop the following in the first two weeks of life:

Swollen or bloated belly

Feedings that stay in the stomach and don’t move through the intestines

Green fluid in the stomach

Bloody poop

Trouble breathing or low heart rate

What’s the treatment ?

Doctors are researching on better treatment but normally the treatment will depend on a number of things like health and medical history, how premature your baby is and how far the infection has spread.

Some of the treatment factors -

Stop feedings

Doctors insert a tube through their nose and into their stomach to remove fluid so that it will keep their stomach empty.

Start the process of IV fluids as it will to keep them nourished and hydrated

Treat with antibiotics to fight infection

Regular monitor the condition

Provide extra oxygen or a breathing machine if their belly is too swollen for them to breathe on their own

Once the infection is gone which is in 5-7 days, your baby can start feeding again by mouth

If we talk about the cure of disease then right now, there’s no way to prevent NEC. But research says that babies who were only fed breast milk, were less likely to develop this disease. That’s why doctors recommend feeding at-risk infants breast milk, starting with small amounts. Many doctors are suggesting using donor breast milk when there is none available from the mother in order to reduce the incidence of NEC.

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.

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