Bowel obstruction diagnostic study of choice
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There is no single diagnostic study of choice for the diagnosis of bowel obstruction, but bowel obstruction can be diagnosed based on plain X-ray and CT scan. An x-ray is performed when obstruction is suspected with clinical findings of nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, abdominal distension and constipation. The results of plain X-ray that confirm of bowel obstruction include dilated bowel loops with air-fluid level, distal collapsed bowel, gasless abdomen or alternatively, "string of pearls" sign. The results of CT that confirm of bowel obstruction include dilated bowel loops with air-fluid level and distal collapsed bowel. Initially, an X-ray is usually performed before surgical intervention. If urgent intervention is not needed and the diagnosis is equivocal, then a CT may be carried out.
Diagnostic Study of Choice
Study of choice:
- There is no single diagnostic study of choice for the diagnosis of bowel obstruction, but bowel obstruction can be diagnosed based on plain X-ray and CT scan.
- The following result of plain x-ray is confirmatory of bowel obstruction:
- Dilated bowel loops with air-fluid level
- Distal collapsed bowel
- Gasless abdomen or alternatively, "string of pearls" sign
- The X-ray should be performed when:
- The following result of CT scan is confirmatory of bowel obstruction:
- It should be noted that bowel obstruction may be diagnosed based on clinical presentation alone.
The comparison table for diagnostic studies of choice for bowel obstruction
Sequence of Diagnostic Studies
- The plain X-ray should be performed when:
- CT scan is performed when:
There are no established criteria for the diagnosis of bowel obstruction.
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