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Eur Radiol. 2001;11(10):1867-77.

Ultrasound of acute GI tract conditions.

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Department of Radiology, MCH Westeinde Hospital, Lijnbaan 32, 2512 VA The Hague, The Netherlands.


Patients with acute abdominal pain are a great challenge to the radiologist. The clinical diagnosis is classically unreliable, resulting in both negative laparotomies as well as ill-advised surgical delay in a large number of patients. Ultrasound offers a non-invasive way to decrease both false-negative and false-positive diagnoses in this category of patients. This article focuses on the role of sonography in the diagnosis of acute conditions of the gastrointestinal tract tract such as appendicitis, sigmoid diverticulitis, Crohn's disease, colitis, infectious ileocecitis caused by Yersinia, Campylobacter or Salmonella, right-sided colonic diverticulitis, bowel malignancy presenting acutely, small bowel obstruction, intussusception, omental infarction, and epiploic appendagitis. The sonographic spectrum of these conditions as well as possible pitfalls are discussed using illustrative case histories.

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