Growth Charts
Possible Newborn Health Problems
Heart Defects
Gastro-intestinal Tract Disorders
Duodenal Atresia
Hirschsprung's Disease
Imperforate Anus
Tracheo-oesophageal Fistula
Congenital Cataracts
Unusual Blood Results

Duodenal Atresia

Duodenenal obstruction occurs when the duodenum (the first part of the small bowel) is blocked and cannot allow the passage of stomach contents.

The obstruction can be due to

Duodenal atresia (part of the duodenum has formed without a hole through the tube)

Duodenal web (a membrane is across the tube)

Annular pancreas (the pancreas squeezes the tube shut)

Sometimes it is found before birth by an ultrasound scan.

A mother may have polyhydramnios; too much fluid around the baby because no fluid is in the baby’s intestines.

But usually duodenal obstruction is found on the first day after a baby is born.

The baby keeps vomiting; often a greenish bile-stained liquid.

An x-ray of the baby’s abdomen shows that air is trapped in the stomach and first part of the duodenum because it can’t pass through. This is called the double bubble sign.

The baby will need
• a drip

• a tube into the stomach

•a heart echo

• to be in a paediatric surgery centre

Once duodenal obstruction is found, surgery is always needed (within the next day or two).

The operation is called a duodenodeuodenostomy, the blocked part of the duodenum is removed and the two cut ends of the duodenum are joined together.

Afterwards, the baby will need a few days in the neo-natal intensive care unit, then a few weeks in hospital until feeding is going well and there are no other problems.

The child will continue to have check-ups with the paediatric surgeon to check that the child is getting enough nutrition and has no intestinal problems.