Meconium Ileus

  • Pietro BagolanEmail author
  • Francesco Morini
  • Andrea Conforti
Reference work entry


Meconium ileus (MI) is an intestinal obstruction caused by thickened meconium, strictly linked to cystic fibrosis (CF) and often representing its first manifestation. Meconium ileus can be either simple (intraluminal occlusion by stick meconium) or complex, with volvulus, atresia, necrosis, perforation, meconium peritonitis, and pseudocyst formation. Since its first description in the nineteenth century, progress was made in the understanding of the genetic origins of this disorder, leading to the identification of the CFTR gene and its over 1900 pathogenetic mutations. The diagnostic workup has seen the evolution of prenatal and postnatal imaging and laboratory studies improving the ability to early detect MI and CF and to differentiate MI from other causes of neonatal intestinal occlusion. Finally, the development of several treatment options, both surgical and nonsurgical, gives the surgeon the opportunity to tailor the therapeutic strategy to the clinical presentation of each single patient. This chapter on MI will review the current knowledge about its pathogenesis, describe the diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to the fetus and newborn baby with this disorder, and illustrate the outcomes of such patients that may aid the pediatric surgeon in caring for these patients.


Cystic fibrosis Meconium ileus Meconium peritonitis Neonatal surgery Nonoperative management Prenatal diagnosis Treatment 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pietro Bagolan
    • 1
    Email author
  • Francesco Morini
    • 1
  • Andrea Conforti
    • 1
  1. 1.Neonatal Surgery Unit, Department of Medical and Surgical NeonatologyBambino Gesù Children’s Hospital, IRCCSRomeItaly

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