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March 1955

Perforation of Small Intestine in a Newborn Infant: Review of the Literature and Report of a Case in a Premature Infant, with Recovery

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, Michael Reese Hospital and the Department of Surgery, Chicago Medical School.

AMA Arch Surg. 1955;70(3):439-442. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1955.01270090117026

Perforation of a hollow viscus in the newborn infant has been reported by several observers.* The condition is unusual, and the diagnosis has undoubtedly been overlooked in many cases of deaths in newborn infants. The case being reported is one of spontaneous perforation of the small bowel in a newborn premature infant weighing 1310 gm. (46 oz.). Recovery followed recognition and prompt surgical repair of the perforation.

Only one previous recovery of a perforation of the small bowel in a newborn infant could be found in the literature.2 Only one case of recovery following perforation of the large bowel has been reported in the literature.6 Thirty-nine cases of bowel perforation, without recovery, were collected by Russell.8 Most of these were large bowel perforations. Perforations of gastric and duodenal ulcers in newborn infants have also been reported.† Thelander10 collected 46 such cases, with recovery in only 1