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May 1957

Meconium Ileus and Meconium Peritonitis

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, Children's Memorial Hospital.

AMA Arch Surg. 1957;74(5):733-740. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1957.01280110075010

Meconium ileus is one of the manifestations of fibrocystic disease of the pancreas. Intestinal obstruction in an infant is always a serious problem. When the obstruction is due to meconium ileus, the problem is doubly serious, because successful surgical relief of the obstruction may be followed by other complications of fibrocystic disease of the pancreas.

Landsteiner,14 in 1905, published the first description of associated fibrocystic disease of the pancreas and meconium ileus. The generally accepted cause for the thick, ropy, inspissated meconium is a deficiency of the enzymatic secretion of the pancreas (Fig. 1). In observations reported by Hurwitt and Arnheim,13 Andersen,2 and Farber,8,9 the pancreatic ducts were obstructed owing to either inspissated secretions or congenital stenosis. About 10% of patients with fibrocystic disease of the pancreas have meconium ileus at birth.6,11,25 The incidence of fibrocystic disease of the pancreas is approximately 0.16% of all

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