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n. intestinal obstruction, usually obstruction of the small intestine (ileum). Paralytic or adynamic ileus is functional obstruction of the ileum due to loss of intestinal movement (peristalsis), which may be caused by abdominal surgery (see laparotomy); spinal injuries; electrolyte abnormalities, particularly of potassium (hypokalaemia); or peritonitis. Treatment consists of intravenous administration of fluid and nutrients and removal of excess stomach secretions by nasogastric tube until peristalsis returns (the ‘drip and suck’ approach). If possible, the underlying condition is treated. Mechanical obstruction of the ileum may be caused by a gallstone entering the bowel through a fistula or widened bile duct (gallstone ileus); thickened meconium in newborn babies with cystic fibrosis (meconium ileus); or intestinal worms, usually the threadworm Enterobius vermicularis (verminous ileus).

Subjects: Medicine and Health.

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