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Alternative Names Return to topIntestinal pseudo-obstruction; Acute colonic ileus; Colonic pseudo-obstruction; Idiopathic intestinal pseudo-obstruction; Ogilvie's syndrome; Chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction
Definition Return to top
Primary intestinal pseudo-obstruction is a condition in which there are symptoms of intestinal blockage without any physical signs of a blockage.
Causes Return to top
In primary intestinal pseudo-obstruction, the small or large intestines lose their ability to contract and push food, stool, and air through the gastrointestinal tract.
The condition can occur suddenly (acute) or over time (chronic). It may occur at any age, but is most common in children and the elderly. Because the cause is unknown, it is also called idiopathic intestinal pseudo-obstruction (idiopathic means occurring without reason).
Risk factors include:
Symptoms Return to top
Exams and Tests Return to top
Treatment Return to top
In severe cases, surgery may be needed.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Most cases of acute pseudo-obstruction get better in a few days with treatment. The disease may return, and can continue for many years.
Possible Complications Return to top
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if you have persistent abdominal pain or other symptoms of this disorder.
References Return to top
Batke M, Cappell MS. Adynamic ileus and acute colonic pseudo-obstruction. Med Clin North Am. 2008;92:649-670.
Talley NJ. Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Dyspepsia, and Noncardiac Chest Pain. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 139.Update Date: 8/22/2008 Updated by: Christian Stone, MD, Division of Gastroenterology, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.