Table of Contents
Ileus Definition and Causes
An obstruction or blockage of the intestinal tract. Ileus is potentially life-threatening and may require emergency surgery. Common causes include
- Intestinal adhesions
- Tumors (benign or malignant)
- Swallowed objects
- Severe fecal impaction
- A bezoar that moves into the intestinal tract from the stomach
Symptoms of Ileus and Treatment
Symptoms include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and failure to have bowel movements. Typically bowel sounds are absent in the intestinal tract beyond the obstruction, and the abdomen is rigid. The diagnostic path may include abdominal x-ray, ultrasound, or laparoscopic surgery.
Treatment is nearly always surgery to remove the obstruction, often laparoscopic though sometimes open surgery is necessary. Delays in surgery can result in tissue necrosis (death), requiring the surgeon to reconstruct a portion of the bowel and increasing the risk of infection.
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