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World J Gastroenterol. 2008 May 21;14(19):2953-61.

Chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine & Gastroenterology, St. Orsola-Malpighi Hospital, Via Massarenti 9, Bologna I-40138, Italy.


Chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction (CIPO) is a severe digestive syndrome characterized by derangement of gut propulsive motility which resembles mechanical obstruction, in the absence of any obstructive process. Although uncommon in clinical practice, this syndrome represents one of the main causes of intestinal failure and is characterized by high morbidity and mortality. It may be idiopathic or secondary to a variety of diseases. Most cases are sporadic, even though familial forms with either dominant or recessive autosomal inheritance have been described. Based on histological features intestinal pseudo-obstruction can be classified into three main categories: neuropathies, mesenchymopathies, and myopathies, according on the predominant involvement of enteric neurones, interstitial cells of Cajal or smooth muscle cells, respectively. Treatment of intestinal pseudo-obstruction involves nutritional, pharmacological and surgical therapies, but it is often unsatisfactory and the long-term outcome is generally poor in the majority of cases.

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