AskDefine | Define ileus

Dictionary Definition

ileus n : blockage of the intestine (especially the ileum) that prevents the contents of the intestine from passing to the lower bowel [syn: intestinal obstruction]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Partial or complete obstruction of the intestines, especially the ileum, causing colic, vomiting, constipation and often fever and dehydration.

See also


Extensive Definition

Ileus is a disruption of the normal propulsive gastrointestinal motor activity from non-mechanical mechanisms. Motility disorders that result from structural abnormalities are termed mechanical bowel obstruction. Some mechanical obstructions are misnomers, such as gallstone ileus and meconium ileus, and are not true examples of ileus by the classic definition .


Postoperative Ileus

It is a temporary paralysis of a portion of the intestines typically after an abdominal surgery. Since the intestinal content of this portion is unable to move forward, food or drink should be avoided until peristaltic sound is heard from auscultation of the area where this portion lies.

Acute colonic pseudoobstruction

Also known as Ogilvie's syndrome


Inhibitory neural reflexes


Ileus may increase adhesion formation, because intestinal segments have more prolonged contact, allowing fibrous adhesions to form, and intestinal distention causes serosal injury and ischemia. Intestinal distention has been shown to cause adhesions in foals . In a recent survey of ACVS diplomates on drugs to prevent ileus and therefore prevent adhesions (unpublished data). The drug used in this survey was lidocaine, erythromycin, and cisapride . Some respondents also mentioned the importance of walking horses postoperatively to stimulate motility. Repeat celiotomy to decompress chronically distended small intestine and remove fibrinous adhesions is also a useful method of treating ileus and reducting adhesions, and it has been associated with a good outcome

Neurohumoral peptides


Symptoms of ileus include, but are not limited to:

Risk Factors


Nil per os (NPO or "Nothing by Mouth") is mandatory in all cases. Nasogastric suction and parenteral feeds may be required until passage is restored.
There are several options in the case of paralytic ileus. Most treatment is supportive. If caused by medication, the offending agent is discontinued or reduced. Bowel movements may be stimulated by prescribing lactulose, erythromycin or in severe cases, (Ogilvie's syndrome) neostigmine.
If possible the underlying cause is corrected(e.g. replace electrolytes).


ileus in German: Darmverschluss
ileus in French: Iléus paralytique
ileus in Latin: Ileus (morbus)
ileus in Lithuanian: Žarnų nepraeinamumas
ileus in Dutch: Ileus
ileus in Japanese: イレウス
ileus in Polish: Niedrożność jelit
ileus in Romanian: Ocluzie intestinală
ileus in Russian: Кишечная непроходимость
ileus in Swedish: Tarmvred
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