Doctors have diagnosed pyloric stenosis in newborns for the last 100 years; now they have found a cause.

When a child starts vomiting in a straight line after four weeks of age, doctors think of pyloric stenosis, a tight muscle at the end of the stomach, that squeezes so tightly that food cannot pass from the stomach into the intestines, so it backs up, causing the infant to vomit across the room. Doctors diagnose this condition by feeling a lump at the end of the stomach while the baby is sucking on a bottle. In extreme cases it can be treated by opening the child's belly and making cuts across the muscle at the end of the stomach. A recent study from Vanderbilt Medical School shows that taking the antibiotic, erythromycin from the third to 13th days of life causes pyloric stenosis, but it does not do so if taken after the 13th day.

Very early exposure to erythromycin and infantile hypertrophic pyloric stenosis. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 2002, Vol 156, Iss 7, pp 647-650. WO Cooper, MR Griffin, P Arbogast, GB Hickson, S Gautam, WA Ray. Cooper WO, Vanderbilt Univ, Dept Pediat, Sch Med, Div Gen Pediat, Suite 5028 MCE, Nashville,TN 37232 USA

Checked 8/9/05

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