Newborn intestinal obstructions are a common reason for admission to neonatal ICUs. The incidence is estimated to be approximately 1 in 2000 live births. There are 4 cardinal signs of intestinal obstruction in newborns: (1) maternal polyhydramnios, (2) bilious emesis, (3) failure to pass meconium in the first day of life, and (4) abdominal distention. The presentation may vary from subtle and easily overlooked findings on physical examination to massive abdominal distention with respiratory distress and cardiovascular collapse. A careful history and physical examination often identify the diagnosis. Concomitant resuscitation (volume, gastric decompression, and ventilatory support) may be necessary.
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