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Constipation: RED FLAGS for Underlying Disease Causing Constipation

RED FLAGS to consider:

  • Meconium not passed in first 48 hours as a newborn.
  • Family history of Hirschsprung disease.
  • Blood in the stools with fever.
  • Failure to thrive (chronically low weight for height).
  • Abnormal lower extremity neurologic exam.
  • Abnormal reflexes.
  • Paresthesia.
  • Weakness.
  • Sacral dimple or tuft of hair on spine.
  • Perianal fistula or scars.
  • Cystic fibrosis.

These pathways do not establish a standard of care to be followed in every case. It is recognized that each case is different, and those individuals involved in providing health care are expected to use their judgment in determining what is in the best interests of the patient based on the circumstances existing at the time. It is impossible to anticipate all possible situations that may exist and to prepare a pathway for each. Accordingly, these pathways should guide care with the understanding that departures from them may be required at times.