Children who have Hirschsprung's disease are prone to a serious infection of the intestines called enterocolitis.
Enterocolitis is caused by stool backing up behind the immobile section of colon. The stagnant mass of stool provides a fertile environment for bacteria to grow. As the stool mass expands, it presses on the blood vessels in the walls of the colon. Decreased blood flow can lead to a breakdown of the lining of the colon (mucosa), making it susceptible to infection.
Enterocolitis can be a life-threatening complication. It's treated in the hospital with colon cleaning and antibiotics.
March 28, 2013
- What I need to know about Hischsprung disease. National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/hirschsprungs_ez/. Accessed Feb. 1, 2013.
- Kliegman RM. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-6/0/1608/0.html. Accessed Feb. 1, 2013.
- Gunnarsdottir A, et al. Modern treatment of Hirschspring's disease. Scandinavian Journal of Surgery. 2011;100:243.