Superior mesenteric artery syndrome: a rare cause of complete intestinal obstruction in neonates Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Superior mesenteric artery syndrome (SMAS) is an uncommon cause of high intestinal obstruction in neonates; it is owing to incomplete obstruction in the third part of the duodenum caused by compression between the SMA and abdominal aorta. In neonates, complete intestinal obstruction owing to SMAS has been very rarely reported in the literature .We present a 7-day-old previously healthy male infant with a short history of gastroenteritis and sepsis followed by progressive abdominal distension and persistent bilious vomiting that resulted in hypovolemic shock. The patient was aggressively resuscitated, and a gastrografin study showed a hugely distended stomach with an abrupt narrowing at the third part of the duodenum. Exploratory laparotomy unexpectedly revealed a high insertion of the duodenum at the ligament of Treitz, with upward displacement and SMA compression leading to duodenal obstruction. The ligament of Treitz was divided, and the duodenum, mobilized. The postoperative course was uneventful. Although extremely rare, SMAS should be considered as one of the differential diagnoses in newborns presenting with complete intestinal obstruction, especially if preceded by gastroenteritis or sepsis-like symptoms.


  • Mosalli, Rafat
  • El-Bizre, Bassam
  • Farooqui, Mansoor
  • Paes, Bosco

publication date

  • December 2011