In children with no prior history of abdominal surgery and no signs of intussusception or incarcerated inguinal hernia, mechanical ileus may have a congenital cause such as malrotation with volvulus or a persistent omphalomesenteric duct. Acquired causes include sigmoid volvulus. We present two cases of mechanical ileus in children. The first case involved a 6-year-old boy who presented with acute abdominal pain and vomiting. An emergency laparotomy was performed, with resection of the omphalomesenteric duct. Recovery was uneventful. The other case concerned a 9-year-old boy who presented with increasing abdominal pain, bilious vomiting and general clinical deterioration. An emergency laparotomy was performed, revealing malrotation with volvulus and intestinal ischaemia. Children with no prior abdominal history who present with symptoms that may be caused by mechanical obstruction should be managed with a view to surgery and without delay, in order to prevent a catastrophic outcome resulting from a congenital or acquired mechanical obstruction.
Conflict of interest and financial support: none declared.