Pyloric Stenosis

Also known as: infantile hypertrophic pyloric stenosis, congenital hypertrophic pyloric stenosis, gastric outlet stenosis

What is pyloric stenosis?

The pylorus is the path between the stomach and the first part of the small intestine, called the duodenum. It consists of a ring of muscles, the “pyloric sphincter,“ which serves as valve opening periodically to allow digested food to leave the stomach and enter the small intestine for digestion.. For reasons we do not understand, in infants usually between 3 weeks and 3 months of age, the muscle in this valve becomes very thick, narrowing the opening and blocking the passage of food. This condition is known as pyloric stenosis or hypertrophic pyloric stenosis. Pyloric stenosis is three times more common in infant boys.

What causes pyloric stenosis?

The cause of pyloric stenosis isn’t entirely known. It appears to be some combination of genetic factors (since parents, especially mothers, who have had the entity themselves more frequently have babies with pyloric stenosis) and environmental ones.

What are the symptoms of pyloric stenosis?

Forceful vomiting, which starts after 1week of age through 4 months, is the commonest and earliest symptom in most infants. Other symptoms include constant hunger, dehydration, and failure to gain or weight loss.

What are pyloric stenosis care options?

Surgery to widen the pylorus (pyloromyotomy) is the treatment of choice is the standard of care. It can be done laparoscopically (with 3 small incisions) or with a single incision hidden in the navel. The over-thick muscle is cut by the surgeon, allowing the inner lining of the intestine to open and allow food passage.

What is recovery like?

At Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, these babies can resume their feeds—breast milk or formula--almost immediately after surgery and usually go home the day after the operation. They are seen once in the office about 2 weeks following discharge.

Reviewed by: Cathy Anne Burnweit, MD

This page was last updated on: March 20, 2019 04:07 PM