Primary necrotizing enterocolitis has recently been recognized as a highly lethal inflammatory disease of the intestinal tract of infants. It is now apparent that many unexplained cases of "spontaneous" perforation of the ileum or colon in the neonate were in reality secondary to a necrotizing inflammatory process of the intestinal wall. Cruze and Snyder1 reported that one third of 16 cases of spontaneous perforation of the colon collected prior to 1959 were associated with and idiopathic inflammatory process. Cases of "malignant" or "ulcerative" enterocolitis of the newborn, usually ending in death due to perforation, are reported in the European literature2,3 and also fall into this category. In 1965 the first series of cases of necrotizing enterocolitis was reported in the United States by Mizrahi et al.4 This report will review the experience with the syndrome at the Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles.
Materials and Methods