Salvator J. Vicario Timothy G. Price
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Intestinal obstruction is an important consideration in patients who present with abdominal complaints to the emergency department. It can be defined as an inability of the intestinal tract to allow for regular passage of food and bowel contents. In turn, this can be secondary to mechanical obstruction or adynamic ileus. Adynamic ileus (paralytic ileus) is the more common entity, but is usually self-limiting and does not require surgical intervention. Mechanical obstruction can be caused by either intrinsic or extrinsic factors and generally requires definitive intervention in a relatively short period of time to determine the cause and minimize subsequent morbidity and mortality.
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