Term: Pyloric Stenosis

Pyloric Stenosis is a very uncommon condition found in new born babies, caused by the narrowing of the pylorus, a valve which allows food to pass from the stomach to the small intestine. When the muscles in the pylorus become enlarged and inflamed, the baby will begin to vomit uncontrollably. Although this seems very serious, a simple surgery, called a pyloromyotomy, can be done to open the pylorus and allow food to pass from the stomach to the small intestine.The direct causes of Pyloric Stenosis are unknown, but genetics are believed to play a role. Besides the extreme vomiting, dehydration and salt deficiencies are also problems that come along with this condition. Pyloric Stenosis does not usually occur in children over 6 months old, and it occurs more often in boys than in girls.

  • Uncontrollable, Projectile Vomiting
    • Is forceful and occurs after feedings
  • Weight Loss
    • May also appear as an inability gain weight
  • Constant Hunger
    • Both before and after feedings
  • Dehydration
    • Made more severe as the vomiting becomes more constant
  • Abdominal Pains

To determine whether or not a child has Pyloric Stenosis, a series of tests can be run. First, a physical exam involving the feeling of the abdomen for an olive-shaped bump will occur, followed by an ultrasound of the abdomen to look for an enlarged pylorus. If the physical exam and ultrasound prove inconclusive, then an x-ray of the abdomen is usually the next step in order to get a better look at the child's abdomen. Sometimes a blood test will also be done, and this can reveal a loss of electrolytes, indicating that the infant does have Pyloric Stenosis.

Treatments/ Risks:
A Pyloromyotomy is the only known treatment for Pyloric Stenosis. A Plyloromyotomy can either be done under general anesthetic or
laparoscopically, and it involves the cutting and removing of the outside layer of thickened pylorus muscle. A child will usually be given fluids through an IV before and after the surgery. The risks of a pyloromyotomy include bleeding, infection, bad reaction to the anesthesia, hernia, damage to the small intestine, and a return of the symptoms if the pyloric muscles are not cut completely. However, the outcomes of a pyloromyotomy are usually positive, and babies return home within 24-48 hours of surgery.

Related Terminology:
Uncontrollable Vomiting

external image 10281.jpgInfantile-Hypertrophic-Pyloric-Stenosis.gif
external image 8944.jpg

PubMed Health/ Pyloric Stenosis
Mayo Clinic