An unusual cause of small bowel obstruction: dried apricots

Metehan Gümüs, Murat Kapan, Akin Onder, Güven Tekbas, Yusuf Yagmur
JPMA. the Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association 2011, 61 (11): 1130-1
Small bowel obstruction is rarely caused by bezoars. An important cause of phytobezoars are dried fruits. A 56 year old man presented to our department with symptoms of acute intestinal obstruction. Abdomen was distended and tender at the right and left lower quadrants. Bowel movements were decreased, and rectum was empty on digital examination. Upright plain films of the abdomen revealed multiple air-fluid levels and patient was immediately operated on. Due to the ischaemia of short small bowel segment, resection and end to end anastomosis were performed. After resection, bowel was opened and an apricot was found in the small bowel lumen. Although the dried apricot was small enough to pass through the pylorus spontaneously, it became swollen in fluid and started to obstruct the small bowel lumen especially in the terminal ileum. Obstruction by undigested food is rare and mostly seen in children, edentulous older people and patients with mental disorders. In conclusion, dried fruits, when swallowed without chewing, may cause intestinal obstruction.

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