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January 1948


Author Affiliations

From the Children's Hospital of Michigan and the Departments of Pediatrics and Pathology, Wayne University College of Medicine, Detroit (Dr. Zuelzer), and the Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Disease, University of Michigan Medical School and the University Hospital, Ann Arbor, Mich. (Dr. Wilson).

Am J Dis Child. 1948;75(1):40-64. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1948.02030020047005

WE REPORT the cases of a number of infants in the first few days and weeks of life who presented the clinical picture of obstructive ileus in the absence of mechanical causes of intestinal obstruction as demonstrated at operation or at autopsy. There is evidence of a familial tendency toward this condition. Our studies on these patients have led us to believe that the obstruction is an entity in which a developmental defect of the intrinsic nervous system in the lower part of the intestinal tract is associated with a disturbance in the propulsive motor function of the bowel. Absence of the nerve cells of the plexus of Auerbach (myenteric plexus) has been reported occasionally in cases with the clinical features of so-called idiopathic megacolon.1 The association of agenesis of the myenteric plexus with the clinical picture of acute intestinal obstruction seems to have escaped attention, and to our

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