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Necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) is a devastating disease that affects up to 5% of infants in neonatal units and overall affects 0.5–5/1000 live births1 (33/1000 very-low-birthweight (VLBW) infants2). Mortality remains high at 35%.3 We hypothesised that improvements in neonatal care would reduce NEC mortality.
National population registries of births and deaths for England and Wales and the USA were consulted, and data were extracted from 1999 to 2005. Data extracted for each year, based on linked registrations of births and deaths, included numbers of live births, births stratified by birth weight, infant deaths from NEC (main cause of death coded by ICD-9/ICD-10), and infant deaths linked to birth weight. USA data were available to 2004. Infant mortality was calculated as the …
Competing interests: None.