What is the initial emergency department (ED) treatment 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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Answer

Initial emergency department (ED) treatment of small-bowel obstruction (SBO) consists of aggressive fluid resuscitation, bowel decompression, administration of analgesia and antiemetic as indicated clinically, early surgical consultation, and administration of antibiotics. (Antibiotics are used to cover against gram-negative and anaerobic organisms.)

Initial decompression can be performed by placement of a nasogastric (NG) tube for suctioning GI contents and preventing aspiration. Monitor airway, breathing, and circulation (ABCs).


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