NEC, a highly lethal disease that affects premature/compromised infants, is characterized by ischemic necrosis of the gastrointestinal tract. While risk factors can be identified, pathogenesis is uncertain. Protective factors in breast milk promote intestinal maturation and protect the newborn gut from pathologic penetration of macromolecules. Medical and surgical treatments have improved the prognosis of those diagnosed with NEC; however, prevention appears to be the most effective way to decrease mortality rates in the ever-increasing premature population.

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