PERFORATION of a portion of the gastrointestinal tract may occur during intrauterine life, at the time of delivery, or in the neonatal period. The term "meconium peritonitis" commonly designates the inflammatory response to soiling of the peritoneal cavity by the constituents of the meconium, chemically of a highly irritant nature and bacteriologically sterile for a short and variable period after birth. The chemical peritonitis thus induced becomes an even more serious problem when bacterial contamination is added. The majority of the cases of meconium peritonitis are secondary to intestinal obstruction, gangrene, and perforation caused by a congenital lesion, such as malrotation of the bowel with adherent bands and/or volvulus, atresia, meconium ileus associated with pancreatic fibrosis, duplication of the bowel, or strangulated inguinal hernia. Trauma at the time of delivery has been implicated by some, and in many instances neither a competent producing cause nor actual site of perforation has
American journal of diseases of children – American Medical Association
Published: Feb 1, 1954
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