THE PROBLEM of intestinal obstruction in infants and children presents a definite challenge to the medical profession. In recent years there has been an encouraging decrease in the mortality rate owing to (1) the ability of family physicians and pediatricians to recognize various types of obstruction early, (2) the surgeon's willingness to operate without delay, (3) a better understanding of fluid, electrolyte and blood volume balance and (4) present day refinements in anesthesia. Nevertheless, the statistics from hospitals having large numbers of patients treated by men who specialize exclusively in pediatric surgery prove that intestinal obstruction in youngsters continues to be a serious surgical emergency even under ideal conditions. Thus the challenge becomes even greater, demanding the best possible skill and judgment of pediatricians, general practitioners, radiologists, surgeons, anesthesiologists and all who may be called on to attend these young patients at the home, office or hospital.
The principles involved