Pseudo-obstruction in the critically ill

Silvia Delgado-Aros, Michael Camilleri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Intestinal pseudo-obstruction is defined as a clinical syndrome characterized by impairment of intestinal propulsion, which may resemble intestinal obstruction, in the absence of a mechanical cause. It may involve the small and/or the large bowel, and may present in acute, subacute or chronic forms. We have performed a systematic review of acute pseudo-obstruction, also referred to as Ogilvie's syndrome in the literature, and focused on proposed mechanisms, manifestations and management of post-surgery and critically ill patients who suffer from one or more underlying clinical conditions. The hallmark of the syndrome is massive intestinal distension, which is detected on clinical inspection and plain abdominal radiography. The underlying pathophysiological mechanisms are not fully understood. Therefore, treatment focuses on preventing intestinal perforation, which is associated with an average 21% mortality rate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)427-444
Number of pages18
JournalBailliere's Best Practice and Research in Clinical Gastroenterology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2003


  • ADL 8-2698
  • Ileus
  • Neostigmine
  • Ogilvie
  • Pseudo-obstruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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