Fetal Treatment Program of New England

Duodenal Atresia

Affecting one in 1,000 to 5,000 births and caused by the abnormal development of the fetal bowel, duodenal atresia occurs when the first portion of the small intestine—which connects to other organs including the liver, gallbladder and pancreas—becomes completely or partially blocked. Diagnosed through level II ultrasound, fetal echocardiogram and amniocentesis, duodenal atresia is treated after birth with surgery to open the blockage. Your baby will remain in the hospital for several weeks while the bowel heals, and will receive nutrients intravenously until his or her bowel can fully absorb enough nutrients for normal growth.