It is the disease in which the pylorus becomes very narrow so that although it remains open, the food does not pass from the stomach to the intestine.
The pylorus is the portion of the stomach that serves as the gateway to the intestine and that opens or closes to allow food to pass through. Its function is very important since it allows the proper digestion of food in the stomach.
In hypertrophic pyloric stenosis, it causes an accumulation of food in the stomach, which cannot pass to the intestine and, consequently, vomiting . It usually manifests around three weeks of life .
The pylorus narrows because the muscular walls that form it thicken. The cause of this progressive narrowing of the stomach outlet is unknown. It seems that an influential factor is that there is a family history that has suffered from it. It has also been seen that it occurs more frequently in firstborn males.
As it is a progressive onset disease; the baby vomits first sporadically in some feed. In this first phase, the Pediatrician does not usually give it importance because it is confused with the normal regurgitation of most newborns. The baby is looking good.
Over time, the number of vomiting will increase and fulfill some very typical characteristics of the disease:
- Happen during or right after feeding
- Vomiting appears with every shot
- They are “jet” vomiting, the contents of the stomach are expelled with great force through the mouth
- The child is very hungry and eagerly and anxiously grabs the bottles or the breast
In this phase, as vomiting is very frequent and large, the baby can become dehydrated, malnourished and lose weight.
When the disease is suspected, a series of imaging tests must be performed to confirm the diagnosis. The most common is an abdominal ultrasound.
Treatment of hypertrophic pyloric stenosis is urgent and requires surgery. The surgeon widens the pylorus so that the contents of the stomach pass into the intestine. In most cases very good results are obtained.