Studies of idiopathic intestinal pseudoobstruction. I. Hereditary hollow visceral myopathy: clinical and pathological studies

Gastroenterology. 1977 Aug;73(2):327-38.


A 15-year-old girl with idiopathic intestinal pseudoobstruction is reported. She presented with a long term history of low grade obstructive symptoms, diarrhea, and poor nutrition culminating in an acute obstructive attack leading to exploratory laparotomy. At surgery, the small bowel and colon were dilated, with no mechanical obstruction found. Further evaluation revealed her to have a diffuse disorder of gastrointestinal smooth muscle function involving esophagus, small bowel, and colon. Because medical management failed to control symptom, a gastrojejunostomy was done to bypass a megaduodenum. A third laparotomy was necessary 2 months later because of intractable obstructive symptoms. At this last laparotomy, the afferent loop was taken down and a duodenoplasty and duodenojejunostomy were performed, resulting in clinical improvement. Light and electron microscopic study of the excised small intestine showed marked thinning and degeneraton of the smooth muscle, with replacement by fibrous tissue. The myenteric plexus was normal. This case demonstrates that a degenerative disease of smooth muscle may be one cause of idiopathic intestinal pseudoobstruction.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Biopsy
  • Dilatation, Pathologic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Intestinal Diseases* / diagnostic imaging
  • Intestinal Diseases* / pathology
  • Intestinal Obstruction / diagnosis*
  • Intestinal Obstruction / diagnostic imaging
  • Intestine, Small / pathology*
  • Intestine, Small / ultrastructure
  • Muscle, Smooth / pathology*
  • Muscle, Smooth / ultrastructure
  • Radiography