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Alternative Names Return to topCongenital hypertrophic pyloric stenosis; Hypertrophic pyloric stenosis; Gastric outlet obstruction
Definition Return to top
Pyloric stenosis is a narrowing of the pylorus, the opening from the stomach into the small intestine.
Causes Return to top
Pyloric stenosis is caused by a thickening of the muscles of the pylorus. This thickening prevents the stomach from emptying into the small intestine.
The cause of the thickening is unknown, although genetic factors may play a role. Pyloric stenosis occurs more commonly in boys than in girls, and is rare in patients older than 6 months. The condition is usually diagnosed by the time a child is 6 months old.
Symptoms Return to top
Symptoms generally appear several weeks after birth:
Exams and Tests Return to top
The condition is usually diagnosed before the baby is 6 months old.
A physical exam may reveal signs of dehydration. The infant may have a swollen belly area. The doctor may detect the abnormal pylorus, which feels like an olive-shaped mass, when touching the stomach area.
An ultrasound of the abdomen may be the first imaging test performed. Other tests that may be done include:
Treatment Return to top
Treatment for pyloric stenosis involves surgery (called a pyloromyotomy) to split the overdeveloped muscles.
Balloon dilation does not work as well as surgery, but may be considered for infants when the risk of general anesthesia is high.
The patient will be given fluids through a vein, usually before surgery.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Surgery usually provides complete relief of symptoms. The infant can usually tolerate small, frequent feedings several hours after surgery.
Possible Complications Return to top
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if your baby has symptoms of this condition.Update Date: 9/28/2007 Updated by: Deirdre O’Reilly, MD, MPH, Neonatologist, Division of Newborn Medicine, Children’s Hospital Boston and Instructor in Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts. Review Provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.