Also known as paralytic ileus and pseudo-obstruction

  • The bowel goes to sleep (peristalsis stops temporarily)
  • Very common post abdominal surgery
  • Other causes include
    • Intra-abdominal infection / inflammation
    • Pneumonia
    • Trauma
    • Electrolyte Imbalance


Signs and Symptoms

  • Similar to obstruction
  • Abdominal distention and pain
  • Constipation / no bowel movement / no flatulence
  • Sluggish bowel sounds
  • Vomiting



  • Nil by mouth / sips of water
  • NG tube if vomiting
  • Mobilise (to stimulate peristalsis)
  • IV fluids to prevent dehydration
  • Consider parenteral nutrition (IV nutrition) if prolonged period without food
  • Eventually bowels should regain function and the ileus resolve
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