Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed doi:10.1136/adc.2010.190157
  • Review

Meconium obstruction of prematurity

  1. D M Burge1
  1. 1Department of Paediatric Surgery, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton, UK
  2. 2Department of Neonatal Medicine and Surgery, Princess Anne Hospital, Southampton, UK
  1. Correspondence to Mr D M Burge, Consultant Paediatric Surgeon, East-wing, G-Floor, Southampton General Hospital, Tremona Road, Southampton SO16 6YD UK; david.burge{at}
  • Accepted 27 October 2010
  • Published Online First 29 November 2010


Meconium obstruction of prematurity is an entity primarily affecting very low birthweight or extremely low birthweight babies causing low intestinal obstruction. Its presence may at best delay establishment of enteral feeding and compromise nutrition and at worst lead to mechanical obstruction requiring surgery or to intestinal perforation. There are considerable challenges in the recognition, diagnosis and management of this condition. Awareness of the disease and understanding of its pathogenesis may lead to early detection of affected babies and allow proactive measures to decrease the associated morbidity and mortality.


  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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