Radiologic diagnosis of gastrointestinal perforation. Radiol Clin North Am
Department of Radiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.Radiologic Clinics of North America (Impact Factor: 1.98). 12/2003; 41(6):1095-115, v. DOI: 10.1016/S0033-8389(03)00100-3
Perforations of the gastrointestinal tract have many causes. Holes in the wall of gastrointestinal organs can be created by blunt or penetrating trauma, iatrogenic injury, inflammatory conditions that penetrate the serosa or adventitia, extrinsic neoplasms that invade the gastrointestinal tract, or primary neoplasms that penetrate outside the wall of gastrointestinal organs. This article provides a radiologic approach for investigating the wide variety of gastrointestinal perforations. General principles about contrast agents and studies are reviewed, and then perforations in specific gastrointestinal organs are discussed.
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- "The overall sensitivity and specificity of CT for gastrointestinal perforation is generally in the 80-100% range depending on the study. It can also frequently identify the exact site of gastrointestinal perforation when present and diagnose a wide range of other intra-abdominal pathology. The accuracy of CT for identifying the site of perforation ranges from approximately 70% to 90%. "
ABSTRACT: Standard teaching is that patients with pneumoperitoneum on plain X-ray and clinical signs of abdominal pathology should undergo urgent surgery. It is unknown if abdominal computed tomography (CT) provides additional useful information in this scenario. The aim of this study is to determine whether or not CT scanning after identification of pneumoperitoneum on plain X-ray changes clinical management or outcomes. Retrospective study carried out over 4 years at a tertiary care academic medical center. All patients in our acute care surgery database with pneumoperitoneum on plain X-ray were included. Patients who underwent subsequent CT scanning (CT group) were compared with patients who did not (non-CT group). The Wilcoxon rank-sum test, t-test and Fisher's exact test were used as appropriate to compare the groups. There were 25 patients in the non-CT group and 18 patients in the CT group. There were no differences between the groups at presentation. All patients in the non-CT group underwent surgery, compared with 83% (n = 15) of patients in the CT group (P = 0.066). 16 patients in the non-CT and 11 patients in the CT group presented with peritonitis and all underwent surgery regardless of group. For patients undergoing surgery, there were no differences in outcomes between the groups. After X-ray, patients undergoing CT required 328.0 min to arrive in the operating room compared with 136.0 min in the non-CT group (P = 0.007). In patients with pneumoperitoneum on X-ray and peritonitis on physical exam, CT delays surgery without providing any measurable benefit.
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- "These bubbles are often radiographically imperceptible and differ from gastroduodenal perforation. The location of pneumoperitoneum solely in the pelvis is frequently due to colonic perforation (18, 20-23). A colon perforator may be sealed off by fecaloma or inflammatory fibrin, as noted surgically. "
ABSTRACT: Clinical presentation and physical signs may be unreliable in the diagnosis of stercoral colitis (SC). This study evaluates the value of computed tomography (CT) in distinguishing fatal from non-fatal SC. Ten patients diagnosed as SC were obtained from inter-specialist conferences. Additional 13 patients with suspected SC were identified via the Radiology Information System (RIS). These patients were divided into two groups; fatal and non-fatal SCs. Their CT images are reviewed by two board-certified radiologists blinded to the clinical data and radiographic reports. SC occurred in older patients and displayed no gender predisposition. There was significant correlation between fatal SC and CT findings of dense mucosa (p = 0.017), perfusion defects (p = 0.026), ascites (p = 0.023), or abnormal gas (p = 0.033). The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of dense mucosa were 71%, 86%, and 81%, respectively. These figures were 75%, 79%, and 77% for perfusion defects; 75%, 80%, and 78% for ascites; and 50%, 93%, and 78% for abnormal gas, respectively. Each CT sign of mucosal sloughing and pericolonic abscess displayed high specificity of 100% and 93% for diagnosing fatal SC, respectively. However, this did not reach statistical significance in diagnosing fatal SC. CT appears to be valuable in discriminating fatal from non-fatal SC.
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- "Thoracic CT can identify the sequelae of oesophageal perforation, identified by an area of oesophageal wall thickening and or mediastinal air, but this is often obscured by oedema or haemorrhage  Mediastinal air is not uncommon in the polytrauma patient. CT is the most accurate method for illustrating para-oesophageal manifestations of rupture such as mediastinal collections, abscesses and effusions [17,19,20]. CT is a poor investigation to detect the presence or site of an oesophageal rupture. "
ABSTRACT: Traumatic perforation of the distal oesophagus due to blunt trauma is a very rare condition and is still associated with a significant morbidity and mortality. This is further exacerbated by delayed diagnosis and management as symptoms and signs are often masked by or ascribed to more common blunt thoracic injuries. We present a case of a distal oesophageal perforation, secondary to a fall from a third storey window, which was masked by concomitant thoracic injuries and missed on both computed tomography imaging and laparotomy. The delay in his diagnosis significantly worsened the patient's recovery by allowing the development of an overwhelming chest sepsis that contributed to his death. Early identification of an intrathoracic oesophageal perforation requires deliberate consideration and is essential to ensure a favorable outcome. Treatment should be individualised taking into account the nature of the oesophageal defect, time elapsed from injury and the patient's general condition.
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