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Pneumatosis Intestinalis and Hepatic Portal Venous Gas: Watch and Wait or Emergency Surgery? A Case Report and Literature Review

Rigers Dibra, Arcangelo Picciariello, Giuseppe Trigiante, Grazia Labellarte, Giovanni Tota, Vincenzo Papagni, Gennaro Martines, Donato F. Altomare

(Department of Emergency and Organ Transplantation, University “Aldo Moro” of Bari, Bari, Italy)

Am J Case Rep 2020; 21:e923831

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.923831


BACKGROUND: Hepatic portal venous gas (HPVG) associated with pneumatosis intestinalis (PI) can be indicative of several diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), infective and obstructive gastrointestinal conditions, and also potentially life-threatening situations such as mesenteric ischemia.
CASE REPORT: A 60-year-old female patient came to our attention with evidence at computed tomography (CT) scan of gas in the portal vein and bowel walls with no sign of ischemia. General tenderness of the abdomen with absence of bowel sounds was detected at the physical examination. An exploratory laparotomy was performed with evidence of mesenteric ischemia.
CONCLUSIONS: Emergency surgery should be indicated when CT signs of PI and HPVG occur along with a clinical situation strongly suggestive of bowel ischemia, even with no radiological sign of this critical condition.

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