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May 1965

Normal and Abnormal Small Bowel Lengths: An Analysis of 389 Autopsy Cases in Infants and Children

Author Affiliations

From the departments of laboratory medicine and radiology, Denver Children's Hospital. Associate Pathologist (Dr. Reiquam), Radiologist (Dr. Allen).

Am J Dis Child. 1965;109(5):447-451. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1965.02090020449013

THE LENGTH of the small intestine in infants and children has received little attention in the literature. Our interest was aroused by an error in radiographic diagnosis. A film of the abdomen of a 1-day-old infant was interpreted as atresia of the jejunum because only two gasfilled intestinal loops were seen. At operation, the atresia was almost at the ileocecal valve, but the total bowel length was only 50 cm, thereby accounting for the misinterpretation.

Standards of small intestinal length in normal infants are few. Benson1 mentions 248 cm as the average length for the term newborn infant and a 230 cm length of jejunum and ileum in a single 3 lb 11 oz (1,673 gm) premature infant. Benson et al2 state that the proportionately shortened length of small intestines in the premature infant varies from 160-240 cm. Potts3 states only that the infant's intestine is 305

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