Duodenal atresia


Duodenal atresia is a condition in which the duodenum (the first part of the small bowel) has not developed properly. It is not open and cannot allow the passage of stomach contents.


* Upper abdominal swelling may or may not be present * Early vomiting of large amounts, which may be greenish (containing bile) * Continued vomiting even when infant has not been fed for several hours * Absent urination after first few voidings * Absent bowel movements after first few meconium stools


The cause of duodenal atresia is unknown, but it is thought to result from problems during an embryo's development in which the duodenum does not normally change from a solid to a tube-like structure. Duodenal atresia is seen in more than 1 in 10,000 live births. Approximately 20-30% of infants with duodenal atresia have Down syndrome. Duodenal atresia is often associated with other birth defects


Recovery from the duodenal atresia is expected after treatment. Untreated, the condition is deadly.


A tube is placed to decompress the stomach. Dehydration and electrolyte abnormalities are corrected by providing fluids through an intravenous tube. An evaluation for other congenital anomalies should be performed. Surgery to correct the duodenal blockage is necessary, but is not an emergency. The surgical approach will depend on the nature of the abnormality. Associated problems (such as those related to Down syndrome) must be treated as appropriate.