July 1986

Green Vomiting in the First 72 Hours in Normal Infants

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Neonatology, Cook County (Chicago) Children's Hospital (Drs Lilien, Srinivasan, Pyati, Yeh, and Pildes); University of Illinois College of Medicine (Drs Lilien, Yeh, and Pildes); and the Chicago Medical School (Drs Srinivasan and Pyati), Chicago. Dr Lilien is now with Fairview General Hospital, Cleveland.

Am J Dis Child. 1986;140(7):662-664. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1986.02140210060026

• From June 1980 to September 1984, forty-five newborns (weight, ≥2000 g), initially presumed normal, were seen with bilious vomiting in the first 72 hours and were prospectively followed up. Nine (20%) required surgical intervention, five (11%) had nonsurgical obstruction such as meconium plug or left microcolon, and the remaining 31 (69%) had idiopathic bilious vomiting. Infants with idiopathic bilious vomiting had a benign transient course and resumed feedings by 1 week of age; 30 of the 31 had normal or nonspecific findings on initial plain abdominal roentgenogram. Specific findings on the initial plain abdominal roentgenogram were noted in five infants, and four (80%) of these had a lesion requiring surgical intervention; 56% (5/9) of neonates with surgical lesions had normal or nonspecific findings on the plain abdominal roentgenograms. None developed bowel ischemia or midgut infarction secondary to a volvulus as they were identified by contrast studies shortly after the initial episode of bilious vomiting. Although the majority of "normal" neonates with bilious vomiting do not have a surgical lesion, this study indicates that 56% of surgical cases will be missed if contrast studies are not done.

(AJDC 1986;140:662-664)