Intestinal atresia is a birth defect that results in a narrow, blocked or closed segment of intestine that may be separated from or still connected to the rest of the intestine. During normal development, nutrients flow through the digestive tract and are absorbed. Intestinal atresia prevents your baby from digesting food because the intestines lose their ability to absorb nutrients and push food through the digestive tract. In most cases, intestinal atresia involves the small intestine. However, it can affect any area of the digestive tract.

Intestinal webs are thin patches of web-like skin that grow inside the intestine during development. These webs block the intestine and do not allow the passage of food.

Intestinal atresia and intestinal web are congenital conditions, meaning they are present at birth. Some babies born with intestinal atresia or web may have other present at birth health conditions as well, including:

  • Cardiac (heart) conditions
  • Down syndrome
  • Gastroschisis (hole in the abdominal wall)
  • Genitourinary conditions (problems of the genital or urinary tract areas)
  • Hirschsprung's disease (affects the large intestine and causes problems with passing stool)

Symptoms of Intestinal Atresia or Web

Doctors typically diagnose intestinal atresia or web before birth or during a newborn screening in the first few days of life. Symptoms of these conditions in newborns may include:

  • Not having a bowel movement during the first day of life
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Vomiting, especially vomiting green liquid

When to see a doctor

In many cases, your baby’s doctor can diagnose intestinal atresia or web before your baby is born or before they leave the hospital. You should tell your child’s doctor if your baby vomits green liquid or does not have regular bowel movements.

Causes of Intestinal Atresia or Web

Babies with no family history can have these conditions. The cause is unknown.

Request an Appointment

Contact an Orlando Health doctor

If you suspect that your child may have intestinal atresia or intestinal web, make an appointment with an Orlando Health pediatrician today so your child can start on the road to improved health.