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Radiographic Diagnosis of Intestinal Perforation in Early Infancy

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Records of 25 patients with intestinal perforation in early infancy who were treated at the Los Angeles County General Hospital in a period of 15 years were reviewed. Sixteen had roentgen evidence of pneumoperitoneum, and nine did not. The mortality rate was 94 per cent in the group with pneumoperitoneum, 78 per cent in the other, and 88 per cent overall. Multiple sites in the gastrointestinal tract were involved, and the causes of the lesions were diverse and frequently obscure. Prematurity, obstetrical and iatrogenic complications, and congenital anomalies were factors often associated with intestinal perforation. Roentgen features appeared to offer the best hope for diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

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