Gastrointestinal Problems in the Newborn Nursery

  • Gregory C. MartinEmail author


Gastrointestinal problems are one of the most common problems in newborn medicine and in the newborn nursery and are the source of numerous phone calls to clinicians daily. These problems can represent an acute emergency or by contrast a nonissue. However, with the first call received, it may be very difficult to discern if this is the nonissue or this is a major emergency. The goal is to quickly and clearly identify if the issue is one that may require surgery or one that can be managed with simple testing and observation. This chapter will present typical examples of gastrointestinal concerns, the starting points of workups, and ways to differentiate a severe problem from a nonissue.


Atresia Obstruction Abdominal distension Emesis 


  1. 1.
    Farhat R, Rajab M. Length of postnatal hospital stay in healthy newborns and re-hospitalization following early discharge. N Am J Med Sci. 2011:146–51.
  2. 2.
    Taeusch HW, et al. Structural anomalies of the gastrointestinal tract. In: Avery's diseases of the newborn. Philadelphia: Elsevier Saunders; 2005.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Clark DC. Esophageal atresia and tracheoesophageal fistula. Am Fam Physician. 1999:910, 919–6, 920.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Stoll C, et al. Associated anomalies in cases with esophageal atresia. Am J Med Genet A. 2017;173(8):2139–57. Scholar
  5. 5.
    Levitt MA, Pena A. Anorectal malformations. In: Fundamentals of pediatric surgery. New York: Springer; 2010. p. 499–512. Scholar
  6. 6.
    Cunningham BK, et al. Analysis of renal anomalies in VACTERL association. Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol. 2014;100(10):801–5. Scholar
  7. 7.
    Solomon BD, et al. An approach to the identification of anomalies and etiologies in neonates with identified or suspected VACTERL (Vertebral Defects, Anal Atresia, Tracheo-Esophageal Fistula with Esophageal Atresia, Cardiac Anomalies, Renal Anomalies, and Limb Anomalies) association. J Pediatr. 2014;164(3). Scholar
  8. 8.
    Golski CA, et al. Pediatric Specialists’ beliefs about gastroesophageal reflux disease in premature infants. Pediatrics. 2009;125(1):96–104. Scholar
  9. 9.
    Järvinen KM, et al. Role of maternal elimination diets and human milk IgA in the development of cow’s milk allergy in the infants. Clin Exp Allergy. 2014;44(1):69–78. Scholar
  10. 10.
    Terrin G, et al. Ranitidine is associated with infections, necrotizing enterocolitis, and fatal outcome in newborns. Pediatrics. 2011;129(1) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Pediatric Duodenal Atresia. Background, history of the procedure, problem, 24 August 2016,
  12. 12.
    Dalla Vecchia LK, et al. Intestinal atresia and stenosis: a 25-year experience with 277 patients. Arch Surg. 1998;133(490):490–6.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Ellis H, et al. Neonatal small left colon syndrome in the offspring of diabetic Mothers-an analysis of 105 children. J Pediatr Surg. 2009;44(12):2343–6. Scholar
  14. 14.
    Chouikh T, et al. Prenatal intestinal volvulus: look for cystic fibrosis. Br Med J. 2016;
  15. 15.
    Lavie M. Long-term follow-up of distal intestinal obstruction syndrome in cystic fibrosis. World J Gastroenterol. 2015;21(1):318. Scholar
  16. 16.
    Bradnock TJ, et al. Hirschsprung’s disease in the UK and Ireland: incidence and anomalies. Arch Dis Child. 2017;102(8):722–7. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Banner University Medical Center PhoenixPhoenixUSA
  2. 2.Department of Child HealthUniversity of Arizona College of Medicine PhoenixPhoenixUSA

Personalised recommendations