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Images in paediatrics
Small bowel obstruction due to sand ingestion
  1. Jennifer M Geraghty1,
  2. Máire Ní Chollatáin1,
  3. Michael Joseph O'Grady1,2
  1. 1 Department of Paediatrics, Midland Regional Hospital Mullingar, Mullingar, Westmeath, Ireland
  2. 2 Women’s and Children’s Health, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to Professor Michael Joseph O'Grady, Midland Regional Hospital Mullingar, Mullingar, Westmeath N91 NA43, Ireland; michaelogrady{at}

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A 3-year-old boy with severe autism spectrum disorder ingested a significant quantity of sand during a trip to the beach. An initial ingestion was witnessed by caregivers, however, it was reported he had stopped quickly and the overall intake of sand was under-appreciated. Four hours later, he passed stool made entirely of compacted sand (online supplemental material 1). He experienced non-bilious vomiting and colicky abdominal discomfort. His abdomen was soft and non-distended. Ten hours post-ingestion, vomiting episodes became bilious and a supine abdominal radiograph demonstrated dilated small bowel loops and radiopaque material in the distal …

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  • Contributors JMG acquired data, wrote the first manuscript draft and approved the final submitted draft. MNC acquired data, revised the manuscript and approved the final submitted draft. MJO conducted the literature review, revised the manuscript critically and approved the final submitted version.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.