Clinical Manifestations in Infants with Symptomatic Meconium Peritonitis

Ming Horng Tsai, Shih Ming Chu, Reyin Lien, Hsuan Rong Huang, Chih Cheng Luo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Meconium peritonitis (MP) develops when bowel perforation occurs in utero or soon after birth, resulting in leakage of meconium into the peritoneal cavity. The clinical features are often variable and prenatal ultrasonography plays an important role in prenatal diagnosis. Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of neonates diagnosed with MP in our hospital from January 1998 to December 2007. Prenatal examinations, postnatal presentations, investigations, management, patient outcomes, and possible causes were analyzed. Results: Ten patients (five boys, five girls) diagnosed with MP were studied. The most common prenatal ultrasonographic finding was fetal ascites (7/10, 70%), followed by polyhydramnios (3/10, 30%), bowel dilatation (3/10, 30%), intra-abdominal calcification (1/10, 10%), and hydrops fetalis (1/10, 10%). Two of our patients were completely normal on prenatal ultrasonography. Only one MP diagnosis (1/10, 10%) was definitely confirmed by prenatal ultrasonography due to the presence of ascites, bowel perforation and intra-abdominal calcification. Nine patients (90%) required surgical intervention because of bowel perforation (5), bowel atresia (2), obstruction due to ileus (1), and intussusception (1). Peritonitis was of cystic type in one case (10%), fibroadhesive in five cases (50%), and generalized in four cases (40%). All 10 patients survived without long-term gastrointestinal complications. Conclusion: Prenatal ultrasonography can be diagnostic for MP, which should be con sidered in the differential diagnosis of patients presenting with ascites or ab dominal distension at birth. Close observation of postnatal clinical manifestations and timely surgical intervention resulted in a high survival rate and favorable outcome in these patients at our hospital.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-64
Number of pages6
JournalPediatrics and Neonatology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • intra-abdominal calcification
  • meconium peritonitis
  • meconium pseudocyst
  • neonates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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