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Original Article
April 1957

Intestinal Obstruction Simulated by Nonobstructing Intra-Abdominal Lesions: Report of Two Cases

Author Affiliations

New York

Assistant Attending Surgeon, The New York Hospital, and Assistant Professor of Clinical Surgery, Cornell University Medical College.

AMA Arch Surg. 1957;74(4):624-630. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1957.01280100142025

The diagnosis of large or small bowel obstruction has been discussed in modern surgical texts, and the method of therapy has been adequately outlined. There are, however, occasional patients in whom a preoperative diagnosis of intestinal obstruction is made but in whom, at the time of laparotomy, a lesion situated outside the gastrointestinal tract is found responsible for the symptom complex and physical findings of intestinal obstruction. In these cases mechanical obstruction is not present.

Two cases have been encountered recently at The New York Hospital illustrating a symptom complex compatible with intestinal obstruction without actual mechanical obstruction being present. A brief review of the literature and discussion is presented. These cases exhibited acute intra-abdominal pathology, which was situated close to the gastrointestinal tract so that an inflammatory process caused reflex segmental ileus and a clinical picture of mechanical intestinal obstruction.

Report of Cases 

Case 1.  —A 77-year-old white man

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