Meconium ileus

Meconium ileus is a common cause of neonatal intestinal obstruction and the most common cause of antenatal intestinal perforation.19 It should be included in the differential diagnosis of infants presenting with GI tract obstruction. In approximately 80% of cases it is associated with cystic fibrosis.20-22 The underlying defect in cystic fibro-sis, an abnormality in a transmembrane chloride channel, results in the production of abnormally viscid and sticky meconium. This meconium sticks to the intestinal mucosa causing intestinal obstruction usually occurring late in gestation. Why some infants with cystic fibrosis do not develop meconium ileus is unclear. Meconium ileus can be classified as: 'uncomplicated', when it is limited to intraluminal obstruction caused by the abnormal meconium; or 'complicated', when it is associated with intestinal atresia, volvulus or meconium peritonitis.

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