What Causes Nec In Newborns

What Is A Nec Watch Or Nec Scare

Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC): Preventing and treating complications in the NICU

Babies who are born premature or who have medical problems are treated in the NICU . NICU staff may suspect that a babys bowel may be damaged. This may be referred to as “NEC watch” or “NEC scare” In many cases, this can be prevented from turning into NEC. Breast milk or formula feedings are stopped, and the baby is given nutrition through a tube in a vein . This allows the bowel to rest. The baby will most likely be given antibiotics to prevent infection. In many cases, there is no lasting damage to the bowel, and no further treatment is needed.

What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor

You may want to ask your healthcare provider:

  • What caused my babys NEC?
  • What type of NEC does my baby have?
  • What is the best treatment for my baby?
  • What are the treatment complications?
  • What are the long-term effects of NEC?
  • Does my baby need a special diet?
  • Should I look out for signs of complications when I bring my baby home?

Necrotizing Enterocolitis In Newborns: Symptoms Causes And Treatment

Image: Shutterstock

Necrotizing enterocolitis is a disease of intestines commonly seen in premature or extremely sick newborns. It is characterized by tissue inflammation of usually the large intestine. The inflammation may destroy the tissues of the babys large intestine , making the condition potentially fatal.

The disease can occur in any newborn but is more common in premature infants weighing less than four pounds. It is rarely seen in older babies with normal body weight . Read this post to learn the causes, symptoms, treatment, and complications of NEC in babies.

Also Check: How To Put A Newborn Down To Sleep

What Is Necrotizing Enterocolitis In The Newborn

Necrotizing enterocolitis is a serious illness in newborns. It happens when tissue in the large intestine gets inflamed. This inflammation damages and kills some tissue in your babys colon.

Any newborn can get NEC. But its most common in very sick or premature babies. This is especially true for babies who weigh less than 3 pounds, 4 ounces . It is rare in older, larger babies. The smaller and earlier the baby, the higher the risk for NEC.

Causes Of Nec In Newborns

necrotizing enterocolitis

Researchers still dont know exactly what causes NEC. What we do know from research, however, is that there are some factors that increase the risk that a newborn will develop NEC. The most alarming risk factor and potential cause of NEC is the use of cows milk-based formulas in neonatal intensive care units .

Premature newborns are very vulnerable, as their immune system and other functions are not completely developed yet. When premature newborns are fed formula that is made from cows milk, their immature digestive systems cant adequately break down and process the proteins. As a result, formula does not move through the intestine properly, which can cause bacteria to build up.

Bacteria buildup causes inflammation and infection, and can lead to NEC. Furthermore, inflammation and infection can cause bowel perforation, sepsis, and can even be fatal. There are numerous studies showing that prioritizing human milk is the best way to prevent NEC. Cows milk-based formulas just arent as safe and healthy for premature newborns.

Human milk contains important nutrients that help a premature newborns systems mature. Lactoferrin and immunoglobulins help mature the infants digestive system and promotes feeding tolerance. These nutrients also generally help protect the infant from inflammation and disease.

Read Also: How To Get My Newborn To Sleep Through The Night

Ontogeny Of Rort+ Cells In Intestinal Lamina Propria Of Neonatal Mice

Fig. 1

Dynamic changes of T cells in lamina propria of small intestine. a. Diagram of the experimental design. b. The changes tendency of leucocytes . cf. The variations of CD3e+ T cells , CD4 T cells , CD8 T cells , and Treg cells along with time. Three independent experiments were performed, n=45 per group. Data were shown as mean values±SD. Statistical analyses were performed with Students two-tailed unpaired t-test. *Compared with day 1. *p< 0.05 **p< 0.01 ***p< 0.001 ****p< 0.0001

Talk To A Personal Injury Attorney To Discuss Your Case

If you or a loved one has a baby with Necrotizing Enterocolitis issues due to the use of Similac & Enfamil, contact a personal injury attorney now. A professional and experienced lawyer will be able to guide you, educate you, and point you into the right direction. The manufactures failed warning you about those side effects that are now causing you and your child this pain. For more information about Product Liability cases, contact Malloy Law Offices, LLC, and a member of our team will walk you through the whole process.

Don’t Miss: How To Get My Newborn To Sleep More At Night

Necrotizing Enterocolitis Diagnosed In Premature Infants Through Blood Tests

The childs provider could use a number of methods to diagnose NEC. Since it is an active infection, the doctor could take a blood test to diagnose the condition.

In addition, since the doctor is looking for damage to the intestinal wall, they could take abdominal x rays to look for damage.

One thing that the x-ray will show is air bubbles in the intestinal wall that are signs of infection.

Other ways are testing the intestinal fluid for signs of harmful bacteria or analyzing the babys feces.

Necrotizing Enterocolitis And Its Connection To Similac & Enfamil

What is Necrotizing Enterocolitis or NEC? The NICU Doc Explains!

Similac and Enfamil are two well known infant-formula-product companies. They are supposed to help with babiesbrain building nutrition and immune support. Nonetheless, there are a variety of lawsuits against these giants manufacturers, alleging strict liability for design defect and failure to warn about potential secondary effects. The main side effect that almost every lawsuit of this type is talking about is Necrotizing Enterocolitis. Several parents whose premature babies suffered severe injuries or passed away after ingesting cow-milk formula are now filing baby formula lawsuits against manufacturers Abbott Laboratories, Inc. and Mead Johnson & Company, LLC .

Don’t Miss: How To Select A Pediatrician For Your Newborn

What Are The Possible Treatments For Nec

If your baby has mild NEC, or healthcare professionals looking after your baby think your baby may have NEC, the following treatments may be started:

  • Stopping milk feeds. This is done because resting the bowel can help the bowel recover. When milk feeds cannot be given, your baby may be given nutrition, such as fat, sugar, protein and vitamins, through a long line. This is to make sure your baby grows while you are not feeding milk. A long line is a long, soft plastic tube inserted into a vein in your babys arm or leg.
  • Starting antibiotics to treat and prevent infections.

Other treatments may be needed if your baby becomes generally unwell, such as more oxygen or help with breathing. Many babies who have NEC recover with these treatments.

However, if an area of bowel dies, your baby doesnt respond to treatment, or there is a perforation in the bowel, your baby will need surgery. We have more information about surgery to treat NEC that you may find helpful.

Your babys medical team should keep you aware of your babys care at all times, and you should be able to make decisions with them about your babys care.

Who Is At Risk For Necrotizing Enterocolitis

  • The bodies of premature babies are smaller and weaker. This means they may have difficulty with blood and oxygen circulation, digestion and fighting infection. This increases their chances of developing NEC.
  • High-risk babies, especially premature babies, who are fed milk by mouth or tube feedings are more likely to get NEC. Babies who are fed breast milk are less likely to get NEC. It is rare in babies who havent started feeding yet.
  • Babies who have gone through a difficult delivery or had low oxygen levels at birth are more likely to get NEC. When there is too little oxygen, the body sends the most blood and oxygen to the brain and heart first, reducing blood flow to the intestinal tract. This can cause less oxygen in blood reaching the colon.
  • Babies with too many red blood cells in the circulation are at an increased risk of developing NEC.
  • Babies with infections in the intestine are also more likely to get NEC.

Read Also: How Do I Help My Newborn With Gas

What Causes Necrotizing Enterocolitis

Healthcare providers dont know exactly what causes NEC. We do know that premature infants have weaker immune systems. The immune system helps the body fight off infections.

An infants digestive system is also weaker. When premature babies get an intestinal infection, their immune and digestive systems have a hard time fighting it.

Oxygen-carrying blood also has a harder time reaching the intestines in premature babies. Diminished blood flow can damage intestinal tissue. This damage allows bacteria to leave the intestines and enter the abdominal cavity or bloodstream.

What Are The Complications Of Necrotizing Enterocolitis

necrotizing enterocolitis

An infant with NEC is at risk for other problems, such as:

  • Abdominal infection: Some infants develop a hole in the intestinal wall. This perforation allows bacteria to enter the abdominal cavity. An infection called peritonitis can result. Peritonitis increases the risk for a life-threatening blood infection called .
  • Intestinal stricture: As many as 1 in 3 babies develop intestinal strictures. A stricture narrows the intestines. This condition typically occurs a few months after a baby recovers from NEC. A narrowed intestine makes it difficult for food to pass through. Some children need surgery to open up the intestine.
  • Short bowel syndrome: If NEC destroys or damages part of the small intestine, a child may develop short bowel syndrome. This condition makes it hard for the body to absorb fluids and nutrients . Children with short bowel syndrome need lifelong care to get the right nutrition to grow. Some children need tube feedings.
  • Growth failure and developmental delays: Important long-term complications are growth failure, poor neurodevelopmental outcomes and developmental delays, especially in infants who required surgery. These infants require close follow-up to monitor growth and development.

Don’t Miss: What To Do With A Newborn Baby

Possible Complications And Prognosis Of Nec In Babies

Most infants with NEC recover fully after treatment and do not have any residual problems. However, the following complications may arise in some cases, causing long-term issues, such as feeding problems.

  • Adhesions of the bowel
  • Neuro developmental delay

NEC could have a good prognosis when detected early. Babies who respond well to treatment and those with a few to no comorbidities may show a better prognosis. Almost 8 out 10 babies survive NEC .

Nec Is A Medical Emergency

NEC is far more than just a minor problem. The infection has a high fatality rate, even when doctors treat it promptly.

The mortality rate for an NEC infection is between 10-50% in babies who weigh less than 1500 grams.

The chances of survival improve when the baby weighs more because they will be less affected by the inability to eat.

Not only is the intestine at risk, the baby may also not be able to absorb nutrients when they have this dangerous infection.

This could prevent the baby from growing and developing during a critical time.

You May Like: How Many Ounces Should A Newborn Have

Nec Baby Formula Lawsuit

It is, unfortunately, all too common to see companies behind baby formulas in the news for the wrong reasons. Baby milk products are carefully marketed as being scientifically proven to help our childrens development, and the companies behind them portray themselves as competent and caring. Sometimes companies are accused of exaggerating the benefits of their products. For instance, the DHA added to baby formula is claimed to help a babys brain development, but the evidence is sketchy at best.

Nec Baby Formula Lawyers

Necrotizing Enterocolitis Surgery | Lecturio

Across the United States, several major law firms are working on baby formula injury compensation claims for different families who believe the manufacturers of Similac and Enfamil are at least partly responsible for the death of, or serious injury caused to, their child. The link between cows milk-based baby formula and NEC has been proven, and claimants believe Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson & Company had a duty to do more to protect children. For example, one of the baby formula lawsuit cases filed raises the question as to why these two companies continued to market their products specifically for preterm low birthweight babies when the linkage to NEC was apparent. Thousands of babies are born preterm and underweight in the United States each year, and many of them will have had their feeding supplemented by these products. As such, it is possible that a huge number of NEC lawsuits will be filed in the coming years. If you have been affected by defective baby formula, you can take a free evaluation with Select Justice now to see if you might qualify to join one of the lawsuits against Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson.

If you believe that your baby developed NEC after taking Similac or Enfamil baby formulas, we can help you fight for your rights and compensation.

You May Like: How To Tell If Newborn Is Autistic

Treatment For Nec In Babies

The treatment plan of NEC in babies depends on their general health, age, and severity of symptoms. The objective of the treatment is to subdue inflammation, contain any infection, and restore normal function of the intestines.

Several treatment procedures are simultaneously used for optimum results. The doctor may consider a combination of any of the following procedures .

  • Patient is kept on an NPO
  • Parenteral nutrition
  • Draining of infected abdominal fluids
  • Surgical removal of the affected section of the intestine
  • Ostomy procedure connecting intestine to an opening in the abdomen to collect stool in an external bag

The baby may receive medications and mechanical ventilation through the course of treatment. The duration of the treatment may vary for days to weeks, depending on several factors, such as stage of the disease and the babys response to treatment. Since NEC mostly occurs in premature babies, they may need to stay in the NICU for an extended period for observation.

Liability For Necrotizing Enterocolitis

There are a number of people who can be held legally responsible for necrotizing enterocolitis.

The childs doctor may face malpractice lawsuits if they made a mistake in the delivery process that caused a birth injury.

They may have delayed an abdominal x ray that could have found the infection in the babys abdomen.

Finally, many doctors have been found liable in malpractice lawsuits when they provide medical advice that recommends cow-milk based formula.

It is important that you find the exact cause of the injury and whether it resulted from unreasonable medical treatment.

Alternatively, some parents have been suing the makers of infant formula for injuries caused by their products.

There are currently a number of lawsuits filed by parents of seriously ill infants against the manufacturers of baby formula for product defects.

You May Like: When Do Newborns Start Sleeping Less

Related Posts

Popular Articles