Pediatric Intestinal Atresia

Pediatric Intestinal Atresia


What is an intestinal atresia?

Intestinal atresia happens when the intestines do not form correctly during fetal development. The condition causes complete bowel obstruction (blockage).

Expanded overview

Intestinal atresia is a birth defect in which the intestines do not form correctly and cause a complete bowel obstruction. The blockage makes it impossible for food and liquid to pass through the bowels so your baby can get necessary nutrients.

What are the types of intestinal atresias?

There are several types of intestinal atresia, named for the place where the blockage occurs:

  • Pyloric atresia — happens where the stomach connects to the small intestine
  • Duodenal atresia — happens in the first portion of the small intestine
  • Jejunal atresia — happens in the midsection of the small intestine
  • Ileal atresia — happens in the last portion of the small intestine, just before the large intestine
  • Colonic atresia — happens in the large intestine

What causes an intestinal atresia?

Intestinal atresia is a birth defect. Some doctors and researchers believe it is caused by low blood flow to the baby’s intestines during early fetal development.

Who is at risk for an intestinal atresia?

Intestinal atresia is rare. Some forms of intestinal atresia are known to have a genetic link. This means your baby is more at risk for intestinal atresia if someone in the mother or father’s family has had it.

What are the symptoms for an intestinal atresia?

In some cases, extra fluid surrounding the baby during fetal development may be an indication of intestinal atresia. Once your baby is born, symptoms of intestinal atresia may include:

  • Absence of first bowel movement
  • Lack of interest in feedings
  • Swelling in the abdomen
  • Vomiting after feeding

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