What are the classifications of small-bowel obstruction (SBO)?

Updated: Apr 28, 2017
  • Author: Mityanand Ramnarine, MD, FACEP; Chief Editor: Steven C Dronen, MD, FAAEM  more...
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SBOs can be partial or complete, simple (ie, nonstrangulated) or strangulated. Strangulated obstructions are surgical emergencies. If not diagnosed and properly treated, vascular compromise leads to bowel ischemia and further morbidity and mortality. Differentiating the characteristics and etiologies of obstruction is critical to proper patient treatment because as many as 40% of patients have strangulated obstructions. SBO accounts for 20% of all acute surgical admissions. (See Presentation, Workup, and Treatment.)

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