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May 16, 2011 06:10 PM

Is It Pyloric Stenosis?

Little Rock, IA


If you're the parent of a new baby, you know how hard it can be to know exactly what your child needs.

Is baby hungry? Or tired? Or uncomfortable? It can be a guessing game.
But there are some symptoms that all parents should look for when it comes to baby tummy troubles.  One mother's quick thinking and advanced technology helped save her little boy's life.

Five-month-old Alejandro is one happy little boy

“He's very very happy. He likes to jump around a lot,” mom SuSue Cortez said.

But just three months ago, he was very fussy, didn't sleep and was vomiting more than he was eating. Alejandro was also almost four pounds below his birth weight.

“I was scared 'cause I was not sure what it was. I had never heard of it,” Cortez said.

Alejandro's mom had never heard of Pyloric Stenosis, but that was the diagnosis given the then two-month-old boy at Sanford Children's Hospital.

“The muscle at the end of the stomach, the pyloris, which controls how fast things go in and out of the stomach, over grows in some babies and it grows so much that it essentially blocks the entire stomach,” Sanford Children's Pediatric Surgeon Dr. Jon Ryckman said.

The condition isn't uncommon. In fact, it's the second most common reason an infant would need surgery.

Ryckman says Pyloric Stenosis usually develops between two weeks and two months old. If misdiagnosed as reflux or even colic, the condition can quickly go from bad to worse.

“This one doesn't get better on its own. It doesn't get better with formula changes and the babies can get very, very sick if it's not treated with surgery,” Ryckman said.

Ryckman performed the surgery to correct Alejandro's condition laproscopically. During the operation, the thick muscle is split, creating a bigger opening for food to travel from the stomach to the intestines.

“We put a camera in through the belly button and two other tiny incisions for the instruments and we can do it all that way so there's absolutely no scar what-so-ever,” Ryckman said.

“He only has two little dots on his tummy and they said they'll be gone within a year or two,” Cortez said.

Within a few days of surgery, Alejandro was a different baby.

“He's been great. Right after that day, he just played catch up so he started eating a lot right away,” Cortez said.

Alejandro is now a healthy, happy baby and growing as he should.

If you're wondering who's at risk: Pyloric Stenosis is more common in boys than girls and there is genetic link to the condition.
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