Bowel Atresia Definition

congenital anomaly in which there is incomplete development of the intestinal tract, typically with closures and “dead ends” that block flow through the intestines.

The intestines may be entangled or intussuscepted (one segment of bowel telescopes into another), presenting grave risk for tissue death (necrosis). Nearly always the diagnosis is apparent within hours of birth because the infant is unable to eat and the abdomen quickly becomes distended.

Vomiting bile is a key indicator of intestinal obstruction of some sort. Bowel atresia is more common in premature infants. The most common locations for bowel atresia are the duodenum (duodenal atresia) and the jejunum and ileum (jejunoileal atresia). Bowel atresia is life-threatening and requires emergency surgery to correct the defects.


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