What are the most common causes of small-bowel obstruction (SBO) in developed countries, in children, and in developing countries?

Updated: Apr 28, 2017
  • Author: Mityanand Ramnarine, MD, FACEP; Chief Editor: Steven C Dronen, MD, FAAEM  more...
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Following adhesions, the most common causes of SBO in developed regions are hernias (incarcerated groin hernias) (10-20%), malignancy (10-20%), inflammatory bowel disease (5%), volvulus (3%), and miscellaneous causes (2%). [1]  The causes of SBO in pediatric patients include congenital atresia, pyloric stenosis, and intussusception.

In contrast, SBO in developing countries is primarily caused by hernias (30-40%), adhesions (about 30%), and tuberculosis (about 10%), along with malignancy, Crohn disease, volvulus, and parasitic infections. [2]

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