DEFINITION--A condition of infancy in which encircling muscles at the end of the
stomach enlarge and cause obstruction.
BODY PARTS INVOLVED--Pylorus (a muscular tube that carries food from the stomach
to the small intestine).
SEX OR AGE MOST AFFECTED
- Both sexes, but more common in firstborn males.
- Usually begins between 2 and 5 weeks of age, but can occur as late as 4 months.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
- Recurrent vomiting after feedings that becomes increasingly forceful.
- Muscular mass in the upper abdomen (sometimes).
- No pain or fever. Infant seems happy but hungry after vomiting.
- Gradual weight loss and dehydration.
CAUSES--The muscular band that encircles the pylorus thickens and eventually
closes off the outlet from the stomach.
RISK INCREASES WITH--Family history of pyloric stenosis.
HOW TO PREVENT--Cannot be prevented at present.
What To Expect
- Your own observation of symptoms.
- Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
- Barium-swallow x-ray or ultrasound (See Glossary) may be
used for confirmation.
APPROPRIATE HEALTH CARE
- Doctor's treatment.
- Surgery to cut the thickened muscle (pyloromyotomy)
- Hospitalization for about 3 days after surgery.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS--Weight loss, dehydration, shock and death without
PROBABLE OUTCOME--Curable with surgery. The child usually recovers quickly.
How To Treat
GENERAL MEASURES----After surgery:
- A firm ridge will appear at the incision site. This is a healthy sign and requires no
- Wash the incision site gently several times a day.
- If the baby seems uncomfortable, apply warm compresses to the incision site.
MEDICATION--Intravenous fluids and electrolytes until the baby is ready for
surgery. Medication is usually not necessary after surgery.
DIET--The baby may tolerate small feedings of half-strength formula while
awaiting surgery--check with your doctor. If not, formula will be given by stomach tube.
Call Your Doctor If
- Your baby vomits repeatedly.
- The following occurs after surgery: Swelling, redness, bleeding or drainage at the
surgical site. Temperature rises to 101F (38.3C).