NOTABLE advances have been made in the reduction of mortality in acute intestinal obstruction in adults during the past 15 years, but comparable reduction has not been achieved for intestinal obstruction in the newborn. There are a number of reasons why this reduction has not been accomplished. In the latter group we are dealing with such factors as prematurity, associated anomalies or conditions and the fact that most of the obstructions encountered are of the complete type which produce marked changes in the physiological balance of the patients. When one considers that about one half of all deaths which occur during the first two weeks after birth are attributable to prematurity, one can understand the importance of this factor in a consideration of newborn infants as operative risks.
It has been estimated by Thorndike1 that complete duodenal obstruction occurs in 1 in 30,000 births. In a review of 400