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Neonatal intestinal obstruction is the most common surgical emergency in the newborn period. Prompt diagnosis and urgent management improve the chances of a favorable outcome. Aetiology and outcome may vary in different parts of the same country.
Objective: To evaluate the aetiology and factors associated with mortality in neonates presenting with intestinal obstruction in University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar, Nigeria.
Method: This was a retrospective study of clinical records of neonates presenting with features of intestinal obstruction over an eight year period. The biodata, diagnosis, management and outcome for the neonates were documented.
Result: Forty neonates; 26(65%) males and 14(35.5%) females were studied. Imperforate anus was seen in 40% of subjects while Hirschsprung’s disease and intestinal atresia each were seen in 10%. Aetiology could not be determined in about a fifth of the cases. Age less than one week at presentation was significantly associated with a poor outcome. No case had surgical intervention within twenty-four hours of presentation. The overall mortality was 30%, most of these 9 (75%) was due to anorectal malformations.
Conclusion: The management and outcome of neonatal intestinal obstruction in our setting is poor. There is urgent need to upgrade our neonatal intensive care services to improve outcome in affected neonates. More Paediatric surgeons are required to reduce the gross inadequacy of expert as this would improve on the surgical intervention time as reported in this study.
Key Words: Neonatal intestinal obstruction Hirschprung’s disease