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Diagnosis: Presentations: Meconium Illeus

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About 18 percent of CF patients are affected by meconium ileus (MI), is an obstruction of the bowel caused by thick, abnormal meconium. MI is suspected if a baby fails to pass meconium shortly after birth and develops symptoms of bowel obstruction, such as distention of the abdomen or vomiting. MI can lead to bowel perforation, a twisting of the bowel, or inflammation and infection of the abdominal cavity. MI must be treated immediately to prevent these complications and protect the baby’s bowel. In most cases, the meconium can be flushed out of the bowel with enemas. However, in severe cases, surgery is required to remove the obstruction. All babies with meconium ileus should be tested for CF because 98 percent of full term babies with MI have CF.

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A. Illustration of intestine blocked by meconium. B. Abdominal xray of a newborn infant with meconium ileus showing dilated loops of bowel.