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Swiss Surg. 2003;9(4):181-3.

[Intestinal barotrauma after diving--mechanical ileus in incarceration of the last loop of the small intestine between a mobile cecum and sigmoid].

[Article in French]

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Ensemble hospitalier de la Côte, Hôpital de Morges, service de chirurgie, Morges.


A few hours after a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA) dive at 30 meters depth, a 49 years-old man complained of diffuse abdominal pain with nausea and vomitus. A laparotomy was performed 36 hours after a conservative treatment because of persistent mechanical small bowel obstruction. The last ileal loop was strangulated between a mobile ceacum and a long sigmoid loop. The man never had previous abdominal surgery. In absence of intestinal necrosis, a caecopexy was done and there was no post-operative complications. The gas distension during the ascension following the Boyle-Mariotte law and its distribution induced in this man with a special anatomy a mechanical small bowel obstruction. The treatment of mobile caecum and the literature of abdominal barotrauma is reviewed.

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