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A Journal on Surgery

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Minerva Chirurgica 1999 December;54(12):855-8

language: Italian

Meconium ileus. A 20 years review at our institution

Fasoli L., Campagnola S.


Background. Meconium ileus (MI) is a form of neonatal intestinal obstruction due to an abnormal thickened meconium within the terminal ileum. The aim of this retrospective paper is to review our experience with neonates affected from MI treated at our Institute over a twenty year period.
Methods. This report deals with 23 neonates with MI: 14 newborns had uncomplicated MI due to obstruction of the terminal ileum with meconium pellets, while 9 presented with complications (intestinal atresia, volvulus, pseudocyst, peritonitis).
Results. A water soluble contrast enema (Gastrografin) was attempted in 12 cases with a success rate of 7/12 (58%). The remaining sixteen neonates underwent laparotomy, with 4 treated by resection and primary anastomosis, 7 by enterostomy (chimney or double-barrelled) and 5 managed with T-tube enterostomy. Survival rate was 93% in uncomplicated MI and 67% in complicated forms.
Conclusions. On the basis of personal experience the authors suggest that the treatment of choice for uncomplicated MI is Gastrografin enema, with T-tube enterostomy to be reserved for enema failure. The surgical treatment of the complicated forms depends on the intra-abdominal findings; nowadays chimney or double barrelled enterostomy is to be reserved in cases where peritonitis, late diagnosis, prematurity or associated anomalies complicate the disease.

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