Management and outcome of pneumatosis intestinalis

Melanie S. Morris, Arvin C. Gee, S. David Cho, Kevin Limbaugh, Samantha Underwood, Lyle (Bruce) Ham, Martin A. Schreiber

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    99 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    Background: Pneumatosis intestinalis (PI), infiltration of gas into the bowel wall, has traditionally been associated with immediate operative intervention and a high mortality rate. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the diagnosis and management of pneumatosis in an attempt to characterize the disease, and examined management strategies. Results: Ninety-seven patients had a computed tomography (CT) diagnosis of pneumatosis. The location of pneumatosis was as follows: 46% colon, 27% small bowel, 5% stomach, and 7% both small and large bowel. Fourteen patients also had portal venous gas and 6 (43%) of these patients died. Management strategy was non-operative in 52%, operative in 33%, and futile care in 15%. The overall mortality rate was 22% (16% operative, 6% non-operative, and 87% futile). Patients who died had a higher mean APACHE II score (25 vs 11, P <.001). Conclusions: Approximately 50% of patients with pneumatosis can be successfully managed non-operatively. The combination of PI and portal venous gas may confer a higher mortality rate.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)679-683
    Number of pages5
    JournalAmerican journal of surgery
    Volume195
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    StatePublished - May 1 2008

    Keywords

    • Computed tomorgraphy
    • Laparotomy
    • Non-operative management
    • Pneumatosis intestinalis

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Surgery

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