Necrotizing enterocolitis is a serious intestinal disease. Tissue in the large intestine or small intestine become injured or inflamed and can lead to perforations in the intestinal wall or the death of intestinal tissue.
When this occurs, the intestine is no longer able to hold waste, which can cause bacteria to pass into the baby’s abdomen and abdominal cavity.
NEC impacts approximately one in 1,000 preterm infants, according to the Cleveland Clinic. The risk is most significant for those most vulnerable, including newborns weighing less than two pounds at birth. NEC is rare in full-term infants. The Cleveland Clinic reports incidents of necrotizing enterocolitis in full-term newborns are about one in 10,000.