Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a gastrointestinal emergency predominantly affecting premature infants, is associated with increased risk for poor neurodevelopmental outcomes. NEC often strikes during a period of rapid and dynamic neurologic development when the brain is particularly vulnerable to insults and nutrient deficits. The pathogenesis of neurodevelopmental impairment following NEC is likely multifactorial, with both nutritional and non-nutritional factors at play. Follow-up testing that ensures early detection and intervention for impairments is crucial to optimize neurodevelopmental outcomes following NEC. A multifaceted approach to follow-up after NEC is necessary, with close monitoring of growth, serial developmental assessments, neurologic examinations, hearing and vision testing and neuroimaging. Further research is needed to understand the pathogenesis of neurodevelopmental impairment following NEC, to identify more targeted follow-up tests, and to discover interventions aimed at optimizing neurodevelopmental outcomes following NEC.
- Gastrointestinal microbiota
- Necrotizing enterocolitis