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failure of appropriate forward movement of bowel contents. It may be secondary to either mechanical obstruction of the bowel (mechanical ileus) or a disturbance in neural stimulation (adynamic ileus). Ileus is a surgical emergency that may or may not require surgical intervention; the cause needs to be established promptly.

Adynamic (or paralytic) ileus often accompanies peritonitis and is also found accompanying the colicky pains of gallstones or kidney stones; following spinal cord injury, pneumonia, or other generalized conditions; or being caused by peritoneal contamination by pus (from a perforated appendix) or acid (from a perforated ulcer). Mechanical ileus is that due to adhesions, ischemia, tumor, or stone and requires prompt decompression of the bowel to prevent perforation.
Symptoms. The principal symptoms of ileus are abdominal pain and distention, constipation, and vomiting in which the vomitus may contain fecal material. If the intestinal obstruction is not relieved, the circulation in the wall of the intestine is impaired and the patient appears extremely ill with symptoms of shock and dehydration.
Treatment. Distention of the abdomen is relieved by decompression, which involves intubation with a long, balloon-tipped tube (e.g., miller-abbott tube) that extends to the site of the obstruction, and use of constant suction. Because of the disruption in absorption of fluids and nutrients from the intestinal tract, fluids, electrolytes, and glucose are given intravenously. Surgical intervention to remove the cause of ileus is usually necessary when the obstruction is complete or the bowel is likely to become gangrenous. The type of surgical procedure will depend on the condition of the bowel and the cause of the obstruction. In some cases ileostomy or colostomy, either temporary or permanent, may be necessary. In cases of paralytic ileus due to causes other than contamination by pus or acid, tube decompression may be sufficient, but even in these patients, surgery may be needed to protect the bowel from overdistention and perforation. See also intestinal obstruction for patient care.
adynamic ileus that caused by inhibition of bowel motility; see ileus.
dynamic ileus (hyperdynamic ileus) spastic ileus.
mechanical ileus that caused by a mechanical cause, such as hernia, adhesions, or volvulus; see ileus.
meconium ileus ileus in the newborn due to intestinal obstruction by thick meconium.
paralytic ileus adynamic ileus.
spastic ileus that due to persistent contracture of a bowel segment.
ileus subpar´ta ileus due to pressure of the gravid uterus on the pelvic colon.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.


Rarely used term for adynamic ileus.
[entero- + G. plēgē, stroke]
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


(en?ter-o-ple'je-a) [? + plege, stroke]
Paralysis of the intestines.
See: paralytic ileus
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners