Searching for causes of necrotising enterocolitis
N. T. Longford and C. Battersby
Necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) is a disease of the gastrointestinal tract
afflicting preterm-born infants in the first few weeks of their lives.
We estimate the effect of changing the feeding regimen of infants
in their first 14 postnatal days by analysing the data
from the UK National Neonatal Research Database.
We avoid some problems with drawing causal inferences from observational data
by reducing the analysis to the infants who spent the first 14
postnatal days (or longer) in neonatal care and for whom NEC
was not suspected in this period.
This reduction enables us to use summaries of the feeding regimen
in this period as background variables in a potential outcomes framework.
The results inform the design of a randomised clinical trial for preventing NEC,
and the choice of its active treatment(s) in particular.