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Authors

  1. Nantais-Smith, Leanne PhD, RN, NNP-BC
  2. Kadrofske, Mark MD, PhD

Abstract

Necrotizing enterocolitis is an acute inflammatory disease, which primarily affects preterm infants, and is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the neonatal intensive care unit. Unfortunately, necrotizing enterocolitis can be difficult to distinguish from other diseases and clinical conditions especially during the early course of the disease. This diagnostic uncertainty is particularly relevant to clinical evaluation and medical management and potentially leads to unnecessary and extended periods of cessation of enteral feedings and prolonged courses of parenteral nutrition and antibiotics. Biomarkers are molecular indicators of a disease process, diagnosis, prognosis and can be used to monitor the effects of disease management. Historically, there has been a paucity of reliable and robust biomarkers for necrotizing enterocolitis. However, several studies have recently identified promising biomarkers. Noninvasive samples for biomarker measurement are preferred and may have certain advantages in the preterm infant. In this review article, we focus on recent exciting and promising discoveries in noninvasive biomarkers for necrotizing enterocolitis.