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Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC)

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a medical condition primarily seen inpremature infants, where portions of the bowel undergo necrosis (tissue death). It occurs postnatally (i.e. it is not seen in stillborn infants)and is the second most common cause of morbidity in premature infants,causing 355 deaths per year in the United States in 2013, down from 484 in 2009. Rates per 100,000 live births were almost three times higher for black populations than for white populations. Initial symptoms include feeding intolerance, increased gastric residuals, abdominal distension and bloody stools. Symptoms may progress rapidly to abdominal discoloration with intestinal perforation and peritonitis and systemic hypotension requiring intensive medical support.