Intestinal Obstruction

Posted by e-Medical PPT Saturday, March 19, 2011
Intestinal obstruction is significant mechanical impairment or complete arrest of the passage of contents through the intestine. Mechanical obstruction is divided into obstruction of the small bowel (including the duodenum) and obstruction of the large bowel. Obstruction may be partial or complete. About 85% of partial small-bowel obstructions resolve with nonoperative treatment, whereas about 85% of complete small-bowel obstructions require operation.
The most common causes of mechanical obstruction are adhesions, hernias, and tumors. Other general causes are diverticulitis, foreign bodies (including gallstones), volvulus (twisting of bowel on its mesentery), intussusception and fecal impaction.
Obstruction of the small bowel causes symptoms shortly after onset: abdominal cramps centered around the umbilicus, vomiting, and—in patients with complete obstruction—constipation.Patients with partial obstruction may develop diarrhea. Severe, steady pain suggests that strangulation has occurred. In the absence of strangulation, the abdomen is not tender. Hyperactive, high-pitched peristalsis with rushes coinciding with cramps is typical. Sometimes, dilated loops of bowel are palpable. With infarction, the abdomen becomes tender and auscultation reveals a silent abdomen or minimal peristalsis. Shock and oliguria are serious signs that indicate either late simple obstruction or strangulation.
Obstruction of the large bowel usually causes milder symptoms that develop more gradually than those caused by small-bowel obstruction. Increasing constipation leads abdominal distention. Vomiting may occur (usually several hours after onset of other symptoms) but is not common. Lower abdominal cramps unproductive of feces occur. Physical examination typically shows a distended abdomen with loud borborygmi.

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