Pyloric Stenosis


Pyloric Stenosis (Inpatient Care) Care Guide

  • Pyloric (pi-LOR-ik) stenosis (ste-NOH-sis) is the narrowing of the pylorus. The pylorus is the area at the lower end of the stomach that connects to the small intestines. The pylorus acts as an outlet for food to pass out of the stomach. Pyloric stenosis occurs when the pylorus muscle of the stomach grows too large and too thick. This prevents food from emptying from the stomach into the small intestine.

  • Caregivers do not exactly know what causes pyloric stenosis. It is thought that problems in the nerves of the pylorus or certain enzymes cause pyloric stenosis. Symptoms include frequent and often forceful vomiting (throwing up) of newly fed milk. This may lead to dehydration (losing to much body fluids). Tests include ultrasound and x-rays of the abdomen (belly). Surgery corrects pyloric stenosis and helps your baby to go back living a normal life.


You have the right to help plan your baby's care. Learn about your baby's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your baby's caregivers to decide what care you want for your baby.


Pyloric stenosis if left untreated may worsen symptoms, especially vomiting. Vomiting may cause dehydration and could be life-threatening. Problems in body electrolytes (salts) may cause convulsions and coma. Nutritional problems may increase the chances of getting an infection. Ask your caregivers if you have questions about pyloric stenosis and its treatments.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.

Emotional support:

Stay with your child for comfort and support as often as possible while he is in the hospital. Ask another family member or someone close to the family to stay with your child when you cannot be there. Bring items from home that will comfort your child, such as a favorite blanket or toy.

Intake and output:

Caregivers may need to know how much liquid your child is getting and urinating. Your child may need to urinate into a container in bed or in the toilet. A caregiver will measure the amount of urine. If your child wears diapers, a caregiver may need to weigh them. Do not throw away diapers or flush urine down the toilet before asking a caregiver.


is a small tube placed in your child's vein that is used to give him medicine or liquids.

NG tube:

This is also called a nasogastric tube. An NG tube is put down your child's nose and into his stomach. An NG tube keeps air and fluid out of the stomach during surgery. It is usually taken out shortly after surgery.


Your baby may have any of the following:

  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help prevent or treat an infection caused by bacteria.

  • Pain medicine: Your child may need medicine to take away or decrease pain. Know how often your child should get the medicine and how much. Watch for signs of pain in your child. Tell caregivers if his pain continues or gets worse. To prevent falls, stay with your child to help him get out of bed.


Your baby may need any of the following:

  • Blood tests: Your child may need blood tests to give caregivers information about how his body is working. The blood may be taken from your child's arm, hand, finger, foot, heel, or IV.

  • Ultrasound: An abdominal ultrasound is a test that looks at the inside of your baby's abdomen (belly). Sound waves are used to show pictures of his abdomen on a TV-like screen. They will look for a pyloric muscle that is longer or thicker than it should be.

  • Upper gastrointestinal (GI) x-rays: An x-ray machine is used to take pictures of your baby's stomach and intestines (bowel). Your baby may be given barium (chalky liquid) to drink before the pictures are taken. This liquid helps his stomach and intestines show up better on the x-rays. Caregivers will look at the x-ray pictures on a TV-like screen to see how the barium fills his stomach. If he has pyloric stenosis, x-rays may show the stomach having problems passing barium to the small intestine.

Treatment options:

Your baby may have one or more of the following treatments:

  • Intravenous rehydration: When babies vomit often, they lose too much body fluid and electrolytes. Low body fluid and electrolytes can cause serious problems and may be life threatening. Caregivers may need to put an IV into your baby's vein (blood vessel). This is used to put fluids and salts back into your baby's body.

  • Surgery: Your baby may need surgery to treat pyloric stenosis. An incision (cut) through the thick pylorus may be made. This loosens up the muscles of the pylorus allowing food to easily pass through your baby's intestines. Ask your caregiver for more information about this surgery called pyloromyotomy.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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