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Radiology. 1988 Jan;166(1 Pt 1):149-52.

Ischemic or infarcted bowel: CT findings.

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Department of Radiology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor.


Computed tomography (CT) has been used in the evaluation of patients with suspected bowel ischemia or infarction. To assess its efficacy in this setting, the CT scans and medical records of 23 patients with proved bowel ischemia or infarction were retrospectively reviewed. Surgery or autopsy revealed that the colon was involved in 17 patients, the small bowel in 13, and the stomach in one (some patients had multiple sites of involvement). The prospective CT interpretation enabled a specific diagnosis of bowel ischemia or infarction in only six of 23 patients (26%). However, in 13 patients (56%), the CT scans were considered useful in patient treatment. A retrospective review of CT scans indicated that bowel dilatation was present in 13 of 23 patients (56%); however, it was not always restricted to the ischemic area. Six of 23 patients (26%) had bowel wall thickening greater than 3 mm, but two had thickening in areas that were not ischemic at surgery. Pneumatosis intestinalis and portal venous gas were seen in only five patients (22%) and three patients (13%), respectively. Superior mesenteric artery thrombosis and free intraperitoneal gas were each found in only one patient (4%).

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