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Disease Profile

Duodenal atresia

Prevalence estimates on Rare Medical Network websites are calculated based on data available from numerous sources, including US and European government statistics, the NIH, Orphanet, and published epidemiologic studies. Rare disease population data is recognized to be highly variable, and based on a wide variety of source data and methodologies, so the prevalence data on this site should be assumed to be estimated and cannot be considered to be absolutely correct.

1-9 / 100 000

US Estimated

Europe Estimated

Age of onset





Autosomal dominant A pathogenic variant in only one gene copy in each cell is sufficient to cause an autosomal dominant disease.


Autosomal recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of each gene of the chromosome are needed to cause an autosomal recessive disease and observe the mutant phenotype.


dominant X-linked dominant inheritance, sometimes referred to as X-linked dominance, is a mode of genetic inheritance by which a dominant gene is carried on the X chromosome.


recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of a gene on the X chromosome cause an X-linked recessive disorder.


Mitochondrial or multigenic Mitochondrial genetic disorders can be caused by changes (mutations) in either the mitochondrial DNA or nuclear DNA that lead to dysfunction of the mitochondria and inadequate production of energy.


Multigenic or multifactor Inheritance involving many factors, of which at least one is genetic but none is of overwhelming importance, as in the causation of a disease by multiple genetic and environmental factors.


Not applicable


Other names (AKA)

Duodenal stenosis


Congenital and Genetic Diseases; Digestive Diseases


The following summary is from Orphanet, a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs.

Orpha Number: 1203

Duodenal atresia is an embryopathy of the cranial intestine that leads to a complete absence of the duodenal lumen.

The incidence of duodenal atresia is between 1/10,000 and 1/6,000 live births, with an approximately equal male to female ratio.

Clinical description
In 30-52% of infants it is an isolated anomaly, but it is often associated with other congenital abnormalities. Approximately 20 to 30% of infants with duodenal atresia are carriers of trisomy 21, and about 20 to 25% have cardiac anomalies. Other frequently described associated malformations include duodenal growth failure, annular pancreas (see this term), which are particular clinical forms of duodenal atresia, and anomalies of the biliopancreatic tract or choledochal cysts. Duodenal atresia is classified into three types: type I (duodenal diaphragm) is linked to the presence of a mucosal diaphragmatic membrane with an intact muscle wall; type II (complete a duodenal atresia) characterized by a short fibrous cord connecting the two ends of the atresic duodenum; and type III (also complete duodenal atresia) which corresponds to a complete separation of the two ends of the duodenum, sometimes together with annular pancreas. Clinical presentation depends on the degree of atresia. Important obstructions manifest during the first days of life with bilious vomiting if the obstacle is infra-vaterian, which starts in the hours after birth, and with feeding intolerance. Weight loss, dehydration, and hypochloremic metabolic alkalosis are the most common symptoms. Less severe obstructions may manifest several months, or even several years, after birth with bilious vomiting without abdominal distention (major sign); however, failure to thrive may be the only presentation.

Vascular anomalies, abnormalities in neural cell migration and failure of recanalization of the duodenal lumen may play a causative role, although the exact cause remains unknown.

Diagnostic methods
The clinical diagnosis is confirmed by abdominal radiography that shows a characteristic 'double bubble'' appearance with air trapped in the first portion of the duodenum and stomach due to the simultaneous distension of the stomach and first portion of the duodenum (above the stenosis).

Differential diagnosis
Differential diagnoses include late appearing pyloric stenosis in cases of incomplete diaphragm, and other forms of intestinal atresia, common mesenteric intestinal volvulus, and duodenal duplication.

Antenatal diagnosis
Diagnosis is prenatal in 80-90% of cases (by ultrasound in the seventh month or before that reveals the characteristic ``double bubble'' image).

Genetic counseling
In most cases, duodenal atresia is sporadic, although an autosomal recessive pattern has been suggested in some families.

Management and treatment
Management involves neonatal resuscitation and surgical correction in the neonatal period. Post-operative complications are rare, but late complications (megaduodenum, blind loop syndrome, duodenogastric reflux, esophagitis, pancreatitis, cholecystitis and cholelithiasis) occur in very rare cases.

The prognosis with early surgical intervention is excellent.

Visit the Orphanet disease page for more resources.


This table lists symptoms that people with this disease may have. For most diseases, symptoms will vary from person to person. People with the same disease may not have all the symptoms listed. This information comes from a database called the Human Phenotype Ontology (HPO) . The HPO collects information on symptoms that have been described in medical resources. The HPO is updated regularly. Use the HPO ID to access more in-depth information about a symptom.

Medical Terms Other Names
Learn More:
80%-99% of people have these symptoms
Duodenal atresia
Absence or narrowing of first part of small bowel
High levels of amniotic fluid
5%-29% of people have these symptoms
Abnormality of the pulmonary artery
Abnormality of lung artery
Annular pancreas
Percent of people who have these symptoms is not available through HPO
Autosomal recessive inheritance

Learn more

These resources provide more information about this condition or associated symptoms. The in-depth resources contain medical and scientific language that may be hard to understand. You may want to review these resources with a medical professional.

In-Depth Information

  • The Monarch Initiative brings together data about this condition from humans and other species to help physicians and biomedical researchers. Monarch’s tools are designed to make it easier to compare the signs and symptoms (phenotypes) of different diseases and discover common features. This initiative is a collaboration between several academic institutions across the world and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Visit the website to explore the biology of this condition.
  • Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is a catalog of human genes and genetic disorders. Each entry has a summary of related medical articles. It is meant for health care professionals and researchers. OMIM is maintained by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 
  • Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs. Access to this database is free of charge.
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Duodenal atresia. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.