Early detection of necrotizing enterocolitis using broadband optical spectroscopy

Seth D. Goldstein, Robert J. Beaulieu, Diego F. Niño, Young Chun, Amit Banerjee, Chhinder P. Sodhi, David J. Hackam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: The definitive diagnosis of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is typically at an advanced stage, indicating the need for sensitive and noninvasive diagnostic modalities. Near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) has been utilized to noninvasively measure intraabdominal tissue oxygenation and to diagnose NEC, but specificity is lacking, in part because sensors are limited to a narrow band of the electromagnetic spectrum. Here, we introduce the concept of broadband optical spectroscopy (BOS) as a noninvasive method to characterize NEC. Methods: NEC was induced in 7-day old mice by gavage feeding with formula supplemented with enteric bacteria plus hypoxia. Transabdominal spectroscopy was performed daily using a broad-spectrum halogen light source coupled with a spectroradiometer capable of detection from 400 to 1800 nm. Results: A feature extraction algorithm was developed based on the spectral waveforms from mice with NEC. When subsequently tested on cohorts of diseased and control mice by a blinded examiner, noninvasive BOS was able to detect disease with 100% specificity and sensitivity. Conclusions: We reveal that the use of BOS is able to accurately and noninvasively discriminate the presence of NEC in a mouse model, thus introducing a noninvasive early diagnostic modality for this devastating disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1192-1196
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of pediatric surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • Hyperspectral imaging
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis
  • Prematurity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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