Ileus or gastrointestinal atony is a disruption of the normal propulsive gastrointestinal motor activity due to non-mechanical causes.
In contrast, motility disorders that result from structural abnormalities are termed mechanical bowel obstruction.
Some mechanical obstructions are misnomers, such as gallstone ileus and meconium ileus, and are not true examples of ileus by the classic definition.
It is a temporary paralysis of a portion of the intestines
typically after an abdominal surgery. Since the intestinal content of
this portion is unable to move forward, food or drink should be avoided
until peristaltic sound is heard from auscultation of the area where
this portion lies.
Paralysis of the intestine. To be termed "paralytic ileus,"
the intestinal paralysis need not be complete, but it must be sufficient
to prohibit the passage of food through the intestine and lead to
Paralytic ileus is a common side effect of some types of
surgery. It can also result from certain drugs and from various injuries
and illnesses. Paralytic ileus causes constipation and bloating. On
listening to the abdomen with a stethoscope, no bowel sounds are heard
because the bowel is inactive.
Acute colonic pseudoobstruction
Also known as Ogilvie's syndrome.
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Last Updated: Feb 1, 2011