NEC; Neonatal necrotizing enterocolitis
Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a common distinctive disease of premature infants characterized by coagulative necrosis and inflammation of the small and large intestine. It is the most common gastrointestinal medical and surgical emergency in the neonatal period.
The pathogenesis of NEC is still incompletely understood and is likely attributable to a complex mechanism. Hypoxia-ischemia is less postulated nowadays and there is an increasing evidence of relation between altered mucosal integrity and prematurity itself. Many factors potentially predispose the premature intestine to injury. These include an inadequate intestinal barrier, incomplete microvasculature development or an immature regulation of the intestinal vascular perfusion, an inflammatory response triggered by abnormal bacterial colonization and an immature immune response leading to inefficient killing of microbes that then translocate through the intestinal...