The terms adynamic ileus and paralytic ileus are used to designate a condition characterized by distention and relative inactivity of the bowel. As implied by the latter term, there prevails an opinion that the condition is the result of paralysis of the bowel. This is implied also in much that has been written, and there have been statements from sources of authority that intestinal motor activity is totally or virtually suspended for many hours or even days after abdominal operations. These opinions, as will be shown, are not supported by factual evidence, either clinical or experimental.
As to clinical evidence, our interest in the subject was aroused by experiences with the Miller-Abbott tube. It was observed that this tube traveled down the small bowel as readily and rapidly in the patient with so-called paralytic ileus as in the patient with normal intestinal function. Obviously, for a state of paralysis this
BISGARD JD, MATSON GM, HIRSCHMANN J. ADYNAMIC ILEUS AND THERMAL INFLUENCES ON GASTRIC AND INTESTINAL MOTOR ACTIVITY. JAMA. 1942;118(6):447-451. doi:10.1001/jama.1942.02830060027006