Preliminary Investigation of the Diagnosis of Neonatal Congenital Small Bowel Atresia by Ultrasound

Biomed Res Int. 2019 Sep 29:2019:7097159. doi: 10.1155/2019/7097159. eCollection 2019.


Purpose: To assess the diagnostic value of ultrasonography (US) for congenital small bowel atresia (SBA) in neonates and their sonographic characteristics.

Methods: A retrospective analysis was performed of 20 neonates who were confirmed with SBA by operation from March 2014 to January 2019. All the neonates have been scanned by US before surgery, and no one underwent barium enema or upper gastrointestinal imaging prior to US. Preoperation ultrasound characteristics about intestinal morphology and intestinal contents were collected, further to summarize the typical ultrasonic features of SBA.

Results: Five cases were duodenal atresia, and 15 cases were jejuno-ileal atresia. Distended proximal intestines, liquid with tiny points in it, can be found in 20 neonates. The small intestine without any gas can be found in 20 neonates. Microcolon, no gas and other contents in it, can be found in 16 cases.

Conclusions: The typical ultrasonic features of SBA include dilation in proximal intestines, small intestines, and microcolon. US is a promising modality in the clinical diagnosis of SBA.

MeSH terms

  • Colon / abnormalities
  • Duodenal Obstruction / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intestinal Atresia / diagnosis*
  • Intestinal Obstruction / diagnosis
  • Intestine, Small / abnormalities*
  • Intestine, Small / diagnostic imaging*
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal / methods

Supplementary concepts

  • Atresia of small intestine
  • Familial duodenal atresia
  • Microcolon