September 14, 2005
This obstruction is caused by a failure of intestinal peristalsis; there is no evidence of mechanical obstruction. Paralytic ileus is common after abdominal surgery, especially if anticholinergic drugs are given preoperatively and/or narcotics are used postoperatively. It usually lasts 2 to 3 days. Paralytic ileus may also be caused by peritonitis; ischemia or surgical manipulation of the bowel; retroperitoneal hemorrhage; spinal fracture; systemic sepsis; shock; hypokalemia; uremia; pharmacologic agents (eg, vincristine, loperamide, and calcium channel blockers); diabetic ketoacidosis; and myxedema.