Chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction syndrome in pediatrics. Results of a national survey by members of the North American Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 1988 May-Jun;7(3):323-32.


A total of 87 cases of chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction were identified as fitting the criteria for the syndrome. Five families, three with autosomal dominant inheritance, accounted for 15 cases. The remainder were single cases in families, indicating either autosomal recessive inheritance, spontaneous mutation, or acquired disease. Of the 87 patients, 47 were male; 19 patients were symptomatic at birth and 37 (43%) within the first month of life; 64% were diagnosed by the first year of age and the remainder were diagnosed by 18 years of age. Patients currently range in age from 3 months to 24 years. Abdominal distension in 70, vomiting in 50, and constipation in 50 of the 87 cases were the three commonest presenting symptoms. Diarrhea and failure to thrive were present in 20 cases. Urinary tract infection and failure to void were present in 10 cases. Diagnosis was established by clinical presentation, radiographic studies, and at exploratory laparotomy. Esophageal motility was abnormal in 14 patients. Anal manometric studies were done in 16 and showed normal recto-anal inhibitory reflex in all but one. Only 34 patients had biopsy studies as part of their evaluation and, of these, only 12 were full-thickness. Abnormal plexuses were found in eight and degeneration of smooth muscles in four. There was little or no benefit from the use of any medication to promote motility. One patient with intractable pseudo-obstruction benefited from a subtotal enterectomy. Of those patients not lost to follow-up, 31.4% died; 43% of these deaths occurred within the first 6 months from complications of total parenteral nutrition. One infant had a complete spontaneous remission by 1 year of age, with normalization of radiographic findings; another had partial remission by 6 months of age.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Gastroenterology
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intestinal Pseudo-Obstruction* / epidemiology
  • Intestinal Pseudo-Obstruction* / genetics
  • Intestinal Pseudo-Obstruction* / mortality
  • Intestinal Pseudo-Obstruction* / therapy
  • Male
  • North America
  • Societies, Medical
  • Syndrome