oa South African Medical Journal - Clinical observations on intestinal motility

Volume 28, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



The normal bowel has tone and propulsive as well as segmental movements, the latter heard on auscultation as first- and second-degree bowel sounds respectively. Various factors inhibit the bowel and may produce an ileus. Recovery from an ileus occurs gradually through definite stages which can be recognized clinically. If tone is also lost there is paralytic ileus, with abdominal distension and third-degree bowel sounds. Thus 5 different states of bowel activity are descriptionbed and the treatment for them is outlined. Various factors stimulate the bowel and should be avoided except with normal intestinal motility. The bowel sounds descriptionbed are recorded by means of a phonocardiogram placed on the abdomen.

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