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Small Bowel Obstruction

Small bowel obstruction Bowel obstruction Any impairment, arrest, or reversal of the normal flow of intestinal contents toward the anal canal. Ascaris/Ascariasis (SBO) is an interruption of the flow Flow Blood flows through the heart, arteries, capillaries, and veins in a closed, continuous circuit. Flow is the movement of volume per unit of time. Flow is affected by the pressure gradient and the resistance fluid encounters between 2 points. Vascular resistance is the opposition to flow, which is caused primarily by blood friction against vessel walls. Vascular Resistance, Flow, and Mean Arterial Pressure of the intraluminal contents through the small intestine Small intestine The small intestine is the longest part of the GI tract, extending from the pyloric orifice of the stomach to the ileocecal junction. The small intestine is the major organ responsible for chemical digestion and absorption of nutrients. It is divided into 3 segments: the duodenum, the jejunum, and the ileum. Small Intestine: Anatomy, and is classified as mechanical (due to physical blockage) or functional (due to disruption of normal motility Motility The motor activity of the gastrointestinal tract. Gastrointestinal Motility). The most common cause of SBO in the Western countries is post-surgical adhesions. Small bowel obstruction Bowel obstruction Any impairment, arrest, or reversal of the normal flow of intestinal contents toward the anal canal. Ascaris/Ascariasis typically presents with nausea Nausea An unpleasant sensation in the stomach usually accompanied by the urge to vomit. Common causes are early pregnancy, sea and motion sickness, emotional stress, intense pain, food poisoning, and various enteroviruses. Antiemetics, vomiting Vomiting The forcible expulsion of the contents of the stomach through the mouth. Hypokalemia, abdominal pain Abdominal Pain Acute Abdomen, distention, constipation Constipation Constipation is common and may be due to a variety of causes. Constipation is generally defined as bowel movement frequency < 3 times per week. Patients who are constipated often strain to pass hard stools. The condition is classified as primary (also known as idiopathic or functional constipation) or secondary, and as acute or chronic. Constipation, and/or obstipation Obstipation Large Bowel Obstruction. The diagnosis is established via imaging. Up to 80% of all cases will resolve with supportive management (bowel rest, intravenous (IV) hydration, and nasogastric decompression). However, surgery is required for persistent or complicated cases.

Last updated: 8 Jan, 2021

Editorial responsibility: Stanley Oiseth, Lindsay Jones, Evelin Maza

Overview

Definition

Small bowel obstruction Bowel obstruction Any impairment, arrest, or reversal of the normal flow of intestinal contents toward the anal canal. Ascaris/Ascariasis (SBO) is the interruption of the flow Flow Blood flows through the heart, arteries, capillaries, and veins in a closed, continuous circuit. Flow is the movement of volume per unit of time. Flow is affected by the pressure gradient and the resistance fluid encounters between 2 points. Vascular resistance is the opposition to flow, which is caused primarily by blood friction against vessel walls. Vascular Resistance, Flow, and Mean Arterial Pressure of intraluminal contents through the small bowel Small bowel The small intestine is the longest part of the GI tract, extending from the pyloric orifice of the stomach to the ileocecal junction. The small intestine is the major organ responsible for chemical digestion and absorption of nutrients. It is divided into 3 segments: the duodenum, the jejunum, and the ileum. Small Intestine: Anatomy ( duodenum Duodenum The shortest and widest portion of the small intestine adjacent to the pylorus of the stomach. It is named for having the length equal to about the width of 12 fingers. Small Intestine: Anatomy, jejunum Jejunum The middle portion of the small intestine, between duodenum and ileum. It represents about 2/5 of the remaining portion of the small intestine below duodenum. Small Intestine: Anatomy, or ileum Ileum The distal and narrowest portion of the small intestine, between the jejunum and the ileocecal valve of the large intestine. Small Intestine: Anatomy).

Epidemiology

  • Average age of onset is 64 years.
  • Similar incidence Incidence The number of new cases of a given disease during a given period in a specified population. It also is used for the rate at which new events occur in a defined population. It is differentiated from prevalence, which refers to all cases in the population at a given time. Measures of Disease Frequency in men and women
  • Accounts for 2%–4% of emergency department visits in the United States
  • Constitutes 80% of mechanical intestinal obstructions

Etiology

  • Mechanical:
    • Adhesions (post-surgical): 
      • Most common cause in the Western countries
      • Open surgery: 4-fold increase in the risk of SBO within 5 years
    • Tumors
    • Hernias
    • Crohn’s disease (inflammatory strictures or adhesions)
    • Gallstones Gallstones Cholelithiasis (gallstones) is the presence of stones in the gallbladder. Most gallstones are cholesterol stones, while the rest are composed of bilirubin (pigment stones) and other mixed components. Patients are commonly asymptomatic but may present with biliary colic (intermittent pain in the right upper quadrant). Cholelithiasis ( gallstone ileus Gallstone Ileus Cholelithiasis)
    • Volvulus Volvulus A volvulus is the twisting or axial rotation of a portion of the bowel around its mesentery. The most common site of volvulus in adults is the colon; most frequently the sigmoid volvulus. Patients typically present with symptoms of bowel obstruction such as abdominal pain, distension, vomiting, and constipation/obstipation. Volvulus
    • Intussusception Intussusception Intussusception occurs when a part of the intestine (intussusceptum) telescopes into another part (intussuscipiens) of the intestine. The condition can cause obstruction and, if untreated, progress to bowel ischemia. Intussusception is most common in the pediatric population, but is occasionally encountered in adults. Intussusception
    • Foreign body Foreign Body Foreign Body Aspiration ingestion
  • Functional (also referred to as paralytic or adynamic ileus):
    • Surgery
    • Peritonitis Peritonitis Inflammation of the peritoneum lining the abdominal cavity as the result of infectious, autoimmune, or chemical processes. Primary peritonitis is due to infection of the peritoneal cavity via hematogenous or lymphatic spread and without intra-abdominal source. Secondary peritonitis arises from the abdominal cavity itself through rupture or abscess of intra-abdominal organs. Penetrating Abdominal Injury
    • Trauma
    • Intestinal ischemia Intestinal ischemia Intestinal ischemia occurs when perfusion fails to meet the demands of the intestines, resulting in ischemic tissue injury that can be life-threatening if bowel necrosis and/or perforation occurs. Symptoms can range from mild indigestion or diarrhea to severe abdominal pain. Intestinal Ischemia
    • Medications ( opiates Opiates Opiates are drugs that are derived from the sap of the opium poppy. Opiates have been used since antiquity for the relief of acute severe pain. Opioids are synthetic opiates with properties that are substantially similar to those of opiates. Opioid Analgesics, calcium Calcium A basic element found in nearly all tissues. It is a member of the alkaline earth family of metals with the atomic symbol ca, atomic number 20, and atomic weight 40. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and combines with phosphorus to form calcium phosphate in the bones and teeth. It is essential for the normal functioning of nerves and muscles and plays a role in blood coagulation (as factor IV) and in many enzymatic processes. Electrolytes channel blockers, diuretics Diuretics Agents that promote the excretion of urine through their effects on kidney function. Heart Failure and Angina Medication)
    • Electrolyte imbalance

Mnemonics

  •  3 most common causes of SBO: ABC
    • Adhesions
    • Bulge (hernias)
    • Cancer (neoplasm)
  • Causes of SBO: SHAVING
    • Stricture
    • Hernia
    • Adhesions
    • Volvulus
    • Intussusception/inflammatory bowel disease
    • Neoplasm
    • Gallstones
  • Causes of paralytic or adynamic ileus (5 Ps PS Invasive Mechanical Ventilation):
    • Postoperative
    • Peritonitis, pancreatitis
    • Potassium (low), Parkinson’s medication, painkillers
    • Pelvic and spinal fractures
    • Parturition

Pathophysiology

Classification

  • By etiology:
    • Mechanical: results from intrinsic (tumors) or extrinsic (adhesions, hernias) compression Compression Blunt Chest Trauma
    • Functional (ileus): 
      • Results from impaired motility Motility The motor activity of the gastrointestinal tract. Gastrointestinal Motility 
      • Can be limited to the small bowel Small bowel The small intestine is the longest part of the GI tract, extending from the pyloric orifice of the stomach to the ileocecal junction. The small intestine is the major organ responsible for chemical digestion and absorption of nutrients. It is divided into 3 segments: the duodenum, the jejunum, and the ileum. Small Intestine: Anatomy or include the colon Colon The large intestines constitute the last portion of the digestive system. The large intestine consists of the cecum, appendix, colon (with ascending, transverse, descending, and sigmoid segments), rectum, and anal canal. The primary function of the colon is to remove water and compact the stool prior to expulsion from the body via the rectum and anal canal. Colon, Cecum, and Appendix: Anatomy as well
  • By degree of obstruction:
    • Complete: no passage of luminal contents beyond the obstruction point
    • Partial: Some intestinal contents pass through.
    • Closed loop: 
      • Segment of intestine is obstructed proximally and distally.
      • Seen in volvulus Volvulus A volvulus is the twisting or axial rotation of a portion of the bowel around its mesentery. The most common site of volvulus in adults is the colon; most frequently the sigmoid volvulus. Patients typically present with symptoms of bowel obstruction such as abdominal pain, distension, vomiting, and constipation/obstipation. Volvulus
      • Gas and fluid cannot escape Escape With constant immune mechanisms holding unstable tumor cells in equilibrium, tumor-cell variants may emerge. These cancer cells may express fewer antigens on their surfaces or lose their MHC class I expression.Variants may also protect themselves from T-cell attack via expression of IC molecules on their surfaces, like normal cells.Creation of an immunosuppressive state in the microenvironment is another way to grow without immunologic interference. Cancer Immunotherapy → ↑ intraluminal pressure, ↑ risk of strangulation Strangulation Inguinal Canal: Anatomy and Hernias
      • Ischemia Ischemia A hypoperfusion of the blood through an organ or tissue caused by a pathologic constriction or obstruction of its blood vessels, or an absence of blood circulation. Ischemic Cell Damage, necrosis Necrosis The death of cells in an organ or tissue due to disease, injury or failure of the blood supply. Ischemic Cell Damage, and perforation Perforation A pathological hole in an organ, blood vessel or other soft part of the body, occurring in the absence of external force. Esophagitis can develop rapidly.
  • By associated complication:
    • Simple: obstruction without ischemia Ischemia A hypoperfusion of the blood through an organ or tissue caused by a pathologic constriction or obstruction of its blood vessels, or an absence of blood circulation. Ischemic Cell Damage
    • Complicated: Circulation Circulation The movement of the blood as it is pumped through the cardiovascular system. ABCDE Assessment is compromised, with associated ischemia Ischemia A hypoperfusion of the blood through an organ or tissue caused by a pathologic constriction or obstruction of its blood vessels, or an absence of blood circulation. Ischemic Cell Damage, infarction, and/or perforation Perforation A pathological hole in an organ, blood vessel or other soft part of the body, occurring in the absence of external force. Esophagitis.

Pathophysiology

  • Early:
    • Intrinsic obstruction or extrinsic compression Compression Blunt Chest Trauma causes interrupted flow Flow Blood flows through the heart, arteries, capillaries, and veins in a closed, continuous circuit. Flow is the movement of volume per unit of time. Flow is affected by the pressure gradient and the resistance fluid encounters between 2 points. Vascular resistance is the opposition to flow, which is caused primarily by blood friction against vessel walls. Vascular Resistance, Flow, and Mean Arterial Pressure of bowel contents, leading to:
      • Accumulation of swallowed air and gas from bacterial fermentation
      • Progressive bowel distention (proximal to the obstruction point) leading to reduced intestinal motility Intestinal Motility Gastrointestinal Motility
      • Fluid sequestration into the bowel lumen
      • Loss of normal intestinal absorption Absorption Absorption involves the uptake of nutrient molecules and their transfer from the lumen of the GI tract across the enterocytes and into the interstitial space, where they can be taken up in the venous or lymphatic circulation. Digestion and Absorption 
    • Emesis leads to loss of fluid and electrolytes Electrolytes Electrolytes are mineral salts that dissolve in water and dissociate into charged particles called ions, which can be either be positively (cations) or negatively (anions) charged. Electrolytes are distributed in the extracellular and intracellular compartments in different concentrations. Electrolytes are essential for various basic life-sustaining functions. Electrolytes (Na, K, H, Cl) → hypovolemia Hypovolemia Sepsis in Children and metabolic alkalosis Metabolic alkalosis The renal system is responsible for eliminating the daily load of non-volatile acids, which is approximately 70 millimoles per day. Metabolic alkalosis also occurs when there is an increased loss of acid, either renally or through the upper GI tract (e.g., vomiting), increased intake of HCO3-, or a reduced ability to secrete HCO3- when needed. Metabolic Alkalosis follow
  • Late:
    • Luminal flora changes → bacterial breakdown of stagnant contents results in feculent fluid
    • Persistent edema Edema Edema is a condition in which excess serous fluid accumulates in the body cavity or interstitial space of connective tissues. Edema is a symptom observed in several medical conditions. It can be categorized into 2 types, namely, peripheral (in the extremities) and internal (in an organ or body cavity). Edema of the bowel wall → bowel ischemia Bowel ischemia Mesenteric ischemia is a rare, life-threatening condition caused by inadequate blood flow through the mesenteric vessels, which results in ischemia and necrosis of the intestinal wall. Mesenteric ischemia can be either acute or chronic. Mesenteric Ischemia from compression Compression Blunt Chest Trauma of intramural vessels Intramural vessels Large Bowel Obstruction
    • With ischemia Ischemia A hypoperfusion of the blood through an organ or tissue caused by a pathologic constriction or obstruction of its blood vessels, or an absence of blood circulation. Ischemic Cell Damage → lactic acid accumulates → metabolic acidosis Metabolic acidosis The renal system is responsible for eliminating the daily load of non-volatile acids, which is approximately 70 millimoles per day. Metabolic acidosis occurs when there is an increase in the levels of new non-volatile acids (e.g., lactic acid), renal loss of HCO3-, or ingestion of toxic alcohols. Metabolic Acidosis
    • Ischemic bowel can lead to gut translocation of bacteria Bacteria Bacteria are prokaryotic single-celled microorganisms that are metabolically active and divide by binary fission. Some of these organisms play a significant role in the pathogenesis of diseases. Bacteriology, necrosis Necrosis The death of cells in an organ or tissue due to disease, injury or failure of the blood supply. Ischemic Cell Damage, and perforation Perforation A pathological hole in an organ, blood vessel or other soft part of the body, occurring in the absence of external force. Esophagitis.
Strangulated inguinal hernia

Gangrenous small bowel Small bowel The small intestine is the longest part of the GI tract, extending from the pyloric orifice of the stomach to the ileocecal junction. The small intestine is the major organ responsible for chemical digestion and absorption of nutrients. It is divided into 3 segments: the duodenum, the jejunum, and the ileum. Small Intestine: Anatomy with closed-loop obstruction caused by an omental band adhesion Adhesion The process whereby platelets adhere to something other than platelets, e.g., collagen; basement membrane; microfibrils; or other ‘foreign’ surfaces. Coagulation Studies

Image: “Intra-operative photograph” by the Department of Surgery, Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Hinchingbrooke Healthcare NHS Trust Trust Confidence in or reliance on a person or thing. Conflict of Interest, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, UK. License: CC BY 2.0.

Clinical Presentation

Symptoms

  • Acute:
    • Abdominal pain Abdominal Pain Acute Abdomen:
      • Sudden onset (most of the time diffuse)
      • Frequently intermittent (colicky)
      • Can be temporarily relieved by vomiting Vomiting The forcible expulsion of the contents of the stomach through the mouth. Hypokalemia
    • Severe constant pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways may indicate ischemia Ischemia A hypoperfusion of the blood through an organ or tissue caused by a pathologic constriction or obstruction of its blood vessels, or an absence of blood circulation. Ischemic Cell Damage or perforation Perforation A pathological hole in an organ, blood vessel or other soft part of the body, occurring in the absence of external force. Esophagitis
    • Nausea Nausea An unpleasant sensation in the stomach usually accompanied by the urge to vomit. Common causes are early pregnancy, sea and motion sickness, emotional stress, intense pain, food poisoning, and various enteroviruses. Antiemetics and bilious vomiting Vomiting The forcible expulsion of the contents of the stomach through the mouth. Hypokalemia
    • Constipation Constipation Constipation is common and may be due to a variety of causes. Constipation is generally defined as bowel movement frequency < 3 times per week. Patients who are constipated often strain to pass hard stools. The condition is classified as primary (also known as idiopathic or functional constipation) or secondary, and as acute or chronic. Constipation
    • Obstipation Obstipation Large Bowel Obstruction (inability to pass flatus or stool)
  • Chronic:
    • Symptoms are usually milder. 
    • Post-prandial abdominal cramping Abdominal cramping Norovirus/discomfort
    • Intermittent nausea Nausea An unpleasant sensation in the stomach usually accompanied by the urge to vomit. Common causes are early pregnancy, sea and motion sickness, emotional stress, intense pain, food poisoning, and various enteroviruses. Antiemetics/ vomiting Vomiting The forcible expulsion of the contents of the stomach through the mouth. Hypokalemia
  • Closed-loop obstruction:
    • Severe abdominal pain Abdominal Pain Acute Abdomen
    • Abdominal distention Abdominal distention Megacolon may be minimal.
    • May not have nausea Nausea An unpleasant sensation in the stomach usually accompanied by the urge to vomit. Common causes are early pregnancy, sea and motion sickness, emotional stress, intense pain, food poisoning, and various enteroviruses. Antiemetics or vomiting Vomiting The forcible expulsion of the contents of the stomach through the mouth. Hypokalemia

Physical examination

  • Signs of dehydration Dehydration The condition that results from excessive loss of water from a living organism. Volume Depletion and Dehydration (hallmark of SBO):
    • Tachycardia Tachycardia Abnormally rapid heartbeat, usually with a heart rate above 100 beats per minute for adults. Tachycardia accompanied by disturbance in the cardiac depolarization (cardiac arrhythmia) is called tachyarrhythmia. Sepsis in Children
    • Hypotension Hypotension Hypotension is defined as low blood pressure, specifically < 90/60 mm Hg, and is most commonly a physiologic response. Hypotension may be mild, serious, or life threatening, depending on the cause. Hypotension (orthostatic)
    • Low urine Urine Liquid by-product of excretion produced in the kidneys, temporarily stored in the bladder until discharge through the urethra. Bowen Disease and Erythroplasia of Queyrat output
  • Abdominal exam:
    • Inspection Inspection Dermatologic Examination: abdominal distention Abdominal distention Megacolon
    • Auscultation:
      • High-pitched bowel sounds (early SBO)
      • Decreased/absent bowel sounds (late or functional SBO)
    • Percussion Percussion Act of striking a part with short, sharp blows as an aid in diagnosing the condition beneath the sound obtained. Pulmonary Examination: tympany or hyper-resonance Hyper-Resonance Pneumothorax; dullness if fluid filled
    • Palpation Palpation Application of fingers with light pressure to the surface of the body to determine consistency of parts beneath in physical diagnosis; includes palpation for determining the outlines of organs. Dermatologic Examination
      • Look for hernias and masses.
      • Tenderness on minimal palpation Palpation Application of fingers with light pressure to the surface of the body to determine consistency of parts beneath in physical diagnosis; includes palpation for determining the outlines of organs. Dermatologic Examination indicates possible peritonitis Peritonitis Inflammation of the peritoneum lining the abdominal cavity as the result of infectious, autoimmune, or chemical processes. Primary peritonitis is due to infection of the peritoneal cavity via hematogenous or lymphatic spread and without intra-abdominal source. Secondary peritonitis arises from the abdominal cavity itself through rupture or abscess of intra-abdominal organs. Penetrating Abdominal Injury (indicative of complications such as ischemia Ischemia A hypoperfusion of the blood through an organ or tissue caused by a pathologic constriction or obstruction of its blood vessels, or an absence of blood circulation. Ischemic Cell Damage or perforation Perforation A pathological hole in an organ, blood vessel or other soft part of the body, occurring in the absence of external force. Esophagitis).
  • Digital rectal exam:
    • To rule out fecal impaction as a cause of symptoms
    • Presence of blood would raise suspicion for a tumor Tumor Inflammation.

Diagnosis

History

  • Risk factors for adhesions:
    • Prior abdominal surgeries (most important): ↑ risk of adhesions
    • Inflammatory conditions (Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis Diverticulitis Inflammation of a diverticulum or diverticula. Diverticular Disease)
    • Radiation Radiation Emission or propagation of acoustic waves (sound), electromagnetic energy waves (such as light; radio waves; gamma rays; or x-rays), or a stream of subatomic particles (such as electrons; neutrons; protons; or alpha particles). Osteosarcoma exposure Exposure ABCDE Assessment
  • Other risk factors for mechanical SBO:
  • Risk factors for functional SBO:
    • Medications
    • Acute or chronic systemic illness (i.e. pneumonia Pneumonia Pneumonia or pulmonary inflammation is an acute or chronic inflammation of lung tissue. Causes include infection with bacteria, viruses, or fungi. In more rare cases, pneumonia can also be caused through toxic triggers through inhalation of toxic substances, immunological processes, or in the course of radiotherapy. Pneumonia)
    • Abdominal trauma
Post-surgery adhesion sbo

Adhesions that can develop post-surgery are the most common cause of bowel obstruction Bowel obstruction Any impairment, arrest, or reversal of the normal flow of intestinal contents toward the anal canal. Ascaris/Ascariasis.

Image by Kevin Pei, PD PD Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a chronic, progressive neurodegenerative disorder. Although the cause is unknown, several genetic and environmental risk factors are currently being studied. Individuals present clinically with resting tremor, bradykinesia, rigidity, and postural instability. Parkinson’s Disease.

Laboratory tests

  • Electrolyte abnormalities (commonly seen in acute onset):
    • Hyponatremia Hyponatremia Hyponatremia is defined as a decreased serum sodium (sNa+) concentration less than 135 mmol/L. Serum sodium is the greatest contributor to plasma osmolality, which is very tightly controlled via antidiuretic hormone (ADH) release from the hypothalamus and by the thirst mechanism. Hyponatremia
    • Hypokalemia Hypokalemia Hypokalemia is defined as plasma potassium (K+) concentration < 3.5 mEq/L. Homeostatic mechanisms maintain plasma concentration between 3.5-5.2 mEq/L despite marked variation in dietary intake. Hypokalemia can be due to renal losses, GI losses, transcellular shifts, or poor dietary intake. Hypokalemia
    • High blood urea Urea A compound formed in the liver from ammonia produced by the deamination of amino acids. It is the principal end product of protein catabolism and constitutes about one half of the total urinary solids. Urea Cycle nitrogen Nitrogen An element with the atomic symbol n, atomic number 7, and atomic weight [14. 00643; 14. 00728]. Nitrogen exists as a diatomic gas and makes up about 78% of the earth’s atmosphere by volume. It is a constituent of proteins and nucleic acids and found in all living cells. Urea Cycle (BUN)/creatinine
    • Hypochloremia Hypochloremia Electrolytes
    • Metabolic alkalosis Metabolic alkalosis The renal system is responsible for eliminating the daily load of non-volatile acids, which is approximately 70 millimoles per day. Metabolic alkalosis also occurs when there is an increased loss of acid, either renally or through the upper GI tract (e.g., vomiting), increased intake of HCO3-, or a reduced ability to secrete HCO3- when needed. Metabolic Alkalosis from vomiting Vomiting The forcible expulsion of the contents of the stomach through the mouth. Hypokalemia (high bicarbonate Bicarbonate Inorganic salts that contain the -HCO3 radical. They are an important factor in determining the ph of the blood and the concentration of bicarbonate ions is regulated by the kidney. Levels in the blood are an index of the alkali reserve or buffering capacity. Electrolytes)
    • Metabolic acidosis Metabolic acidosis The renal system is responsible for eliminating the daily load of non-volatile acids, which is approximately 70 millimoles per day. Metabolic acidosis occurs when there is an increase in the levels of new non-volatile acids (e.g., lactic acid), renal loss of HCO3-, or ingestion of toxic alcohols. Metabolic Acidosis at late stages
  • Complete blood cell count (CBC):
    • Hemoconcentration Hemoconcentration Neonatal Polycythemia
    • Leukocytosis Leukocytosis A transient increase in the number of leukocytes in a body fluid. West Nile Virus:
      • Can be reactive
      • Can be indicative of complications
    • Anemia Anemia Anemia is a condition in which individuals have low Hb levels, which can arise from various causes. Anemia is accompanied by a reduced number of RBCs and may manifest with fatigue, shortness of breath, pallor, and weakness. Subtypes are classified by the size of RBCs, chronicity, and etiology. Anemia: Overview and Types: if with associated etiology (Crohn’s, cancer)
  • Other:
    • Lactate: An elevated level is sensitive to bowel ischemia Bowel ischemia Mesenteric ischemia is a rare, life-threatening condition caused by inadequate blood flow through the mesenteric vessels, which results in ischemia and necrosis of the intestinal wall. Mesenteric ischemia can be either acute or chronic. Mesenteric Ischemia.
    • Blood cultures Cultures Klebsiella: in the setting of bacteremia Bacteremia The presence of viable bacteria circulating in the blood. Fever, chills, tachycardia, and tachypnea are common acute manifestations of bacteremia. The majority of cases are seen in already hospitalized patients, most of whom have underlying diseases or procedures which render their bloodstreams susceptible to invasion. Glycopeptides

Imaging studies

  • X-ray X-ray Penetrating electromagnetic radiation emitted when the inner orbital electrons of an atom are excited and release radiant energy. X-ray wavelengths range from 1 pm to 10 nm. Hard x-rays are the higher energy, shorter wavelength x-rays. Soft x-rays or grenz rays are less energetic and longer in wavelength. The short wavelength end of the x-ray spectrum overlaps the gamma rays wavelength range. The distinction between gamma rays and x-rays is based on their radiation source. Pulmonary Function Tests (initial test of choice):
    • Abdominal X-ray X-ray Penetrating electromagnetic radiation emitted when the inner orbital electrons of an atom are excited and release radiant energy. X-ray wavelengths range from 1 pm to 10 nm. Hard x-rays are the higher energy, shorter wavelength x-rays. Soft x-rays or grenz rays are less energetic and longer in wavelength. The short wavelength end of the x-ray spectrum overlaps the gamma rays wavelength range. The distinction between gamma rays and x-rays is based on their radiation source. Pulmonary Function Tests performed in supine and upright or lateral decubitus positions
    • Performed with upright chest X-ray X-ray Penetrating electromagnetic radiation emitted when the inner orbital electrons of an atom are excited and release radiant energy. X-ray wavelengths range from 1 pm to 10 nm. Hard x-rays are the higher energy, shorter wavelength x-rays. Soft x-rays or grenz rays are less energetic and longer in wavelength. The short wavelength end of the x-ray spectrum overlaps the gamma rays wavelength range. The distinction between gamma rays and x-rays is based on their radiation source. Pulmonary Function Tests
    • Findings:
      • Proximal small bowel dilatation Bowel Dilatation Congenital Duodenal Obstruction > 3 cm
      • Air-fluid levels (with stacked small bowel Small bowel The small intestine is the longest part of the GI tract, extending from the pyloric orifice of the stomach to the ileocecal junction. The small intestine is the major organ responsible for chemical digestion and absorption of nutrients. It is divided into 3 segments: the duodenum, the jejunum, and the ileum. Small Intestine: Anatomy loops) in upright films (stepladder sign)
      • Paucity of air in the colon Colon The large intestines constitute the last portion of the digestive system. The large intestine consists of the cecum, appendix, colon (with ascending, transverse, descending, and sigmoid segments), rectum, and anal canal. The primary function of the colon is to remove water and compact the stool prior to expulsion from the body via the rectum and anal canal. Colon, Cecum, and Appendix: Anatomy
      • Gasless abdomen Gasless Abdomen Pediatric Gastrointestinal Abnormalities (if all the small bowel Small bowel The small intestine is the longest part of the GI tract, extending from the pyloric orifice of the stomach to the ileocecal junction. The small intestine is the major organ responsible for chemical digestion and absorption of nutrients. It is divided into 3 segments: the duodenum, the jejunum, and the ileum. Small Intestine: Anatomy loops are filled with fluid)
      • Ileus: can show diffuse small bowel Small bowel The small intestine is the longest part of the GI tract, extending from the pyloric orifice of the stomach to the ileocecal junction. The small intestine is the major organ responsible for chemical digestion and absorption of nutrients. It is divided into 3 segments: the duodenum, the jejunum, and the ileum. Small Intestine: Anatomy and colon Colon The large intestines constitute the last portion of the digestive system. The large intestine consists of the cecum, appendix, colon (with ascending, transverse, descending, and sigmoid segments), rectum, and anal canal. The primary function of the colon is to remove water and compact the stool prior to expulsion from the body via the rectum and anal canal. Colon, Cecum, and Appendix: Anatomy dilatation
      • Free air in case of perforation Perforation A pathological hole in an organ, blood vessel or other soft part of the body, occurring in the absence of external force. Esophagitis (under the diaphragm Diaphragm The diaphragm is a large, dome-shaped muscle that separates the thoracic cavity from the abdominal cavity. The diaphragm consists of muscle fibers and a large central tendon, which is divided into right and left parts. As the primary muscle of inspiration, the diaphragm contributes 75% of the total inspiratory muscle force. Diaphragm: Anatomy)
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan:
    • Intravenous (IV) contrast recommended (for signs of inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation, ischemia Ischemia A hypoperfusion of the blood through an organ or tissue caused by a pathologic constriction or obstruction of its blood vessels, or an absence of blood circulation. Ischemic Cell Damage)
    • Oral contrast is not necessary if high-grade or complete obstruction is suspected.
    • Helps identify:
      • Site of obstruction
      • Etiology (i.e. hernia Hernia Protrusion of tissue, structure, or part of an organ through the bone, muscular tissue, or the membrane by which it is normally contained. Hernia may involve tissues such as the abdominal wall or the respiratory diaphragm. Hernias may be internal, external, congenital, or acquired. Abdominal Hernias, volvulus Volvulus A volvulus is the twisting or axial rotation of a portion of the bowel around its mesentery. The most common site of volvulus in adults is the colon; most frequently the sigmoid volvulus. Patients typically present with symptoms of bowel obstruction such as abdominal pain, distension, vomiting, and constipation/obstipation. Volvulus, tumor Tumor Inflammation)
      • Severity (must exclude bowel compromise)
    • SBO findings:
    • Closed-loop obstruction findings: 
      • U-shaped or C-shaped dilated bowel loop 
      • Mesenteric vessels converging toward a torsion point
      • 2 collapsed bowel loops adjacent to the obstruction
    • Pneumoperitoneum Pneumoperitoneum A condition with trapped gas or air in the peritoneal cavity, usually secondary to perforation of the internal organs such as the lung and the gastrointestinal tract, or to recent surgery. Pneumoperitoneum may be purposely introduced to aid radiological examination. Perforated Viscus (indicative of perforation Perforation A pathological hole in an organ, blood vessel or other soft part of the body, occurring in the absence of external force. Esophagitis):
      • Free air over the spleen Spleen The spleen is the largest lymphoid organ in the body, located in the LUQ of the abdomen, superior to the left kidney and posterior to the stomach at the level of the 9th-11th ribs just below the diaphragm. The spleen is highly vascular and acts as an important blood filter, cleansing the blood of pathogens and damaged erythrocytes. Spleen: Anatomy or liver Liver The liver is the largest gland in the human body. The liver is found in the superior right quadrant of the abdomen and weighs approximately 1.5 kilograms. Its main functions are detoxification, metabolism, nutrient storage (e.g., iron and vitamins), synthesis of coagulation factors, formation of bile, filtration, and storage of blood. Liver: Anatomy
      • Free air adjacent to the duodenum Duodenum The shortest and widest portion of the small intestine adjacent to the pylorus of the stomach. It is named for having the length equal to about the width of 12 fingers. Small Intestine: Anatomy (retroperitoneum)
      • Football sign Football sign Outlining the whole abdomen by gas Imaging of the Intestines”: supine CT
    • Strangulation Strangulation Inguinal Canal: Anatomy and Hernias/ ischemia Ischemia A hypoperfusion of the blood through an organ or tissue caused by a pathologic constriction or obstruction of its blood vessels, or an absence of blood circulation. Ischemic Cell Damage findings:
      • Thick bowel wall
      • Pneumatosis intestinalis Pneumatosis intestinalis A condition characterized by the presence of multiple gas-filled cysts in the intestinal wall, the submucosa and/or subserosa of the intestine. The majority of the cysts are found in the jejunum and the ileum. Necrotizing Enterocolitis (air in the bowel wall)
      • Portal venous gas Portal Venous Gas Imaging of the Intestines
      • Mesenteric haziness or edema Edema Edema is a condition in which excess serous fluid accumulates in the body cavity or interstitial space of connective tissues. Edema is a symptom observed in several medical conditions. It can be categorized into 2 types, namely, peripheral (in the extremities) and internal (in an organ or body cavity). Edema
      • IV contrast has poor uptake into the wall of the affected bowel.
      • Ascites Ascites Ascites is the pathologic accumulation of fluid within the peritoneal cavity that occurs due to an osmotic and/or hydrostatic pressure imbalance secondary to portal hypertension (cirrhosis, heart failure) or non-portal hypertension (hypoalbuminemia, malignancy, infection). Ascites
  • Small bowel Small bowel The small intestine is the longest part of the GI tract, extending from the pyloric orifice of the stomach to the ileocecal junction. The small intestine is the major organ responsible for chemical digestion and absorption of nutrients. It is divided into 3 segments: the duodenum, the jejunum, and the ileum. Small Intestine: Anatomy follow-through:
    • Gastrografin Gastrografin Computed Tomography (CT) (water-soluble contrast) is used in case perforation Perforation A pathological hole in an organ, blood vessel or other soft part of the body, occurring in the absence of external force. Esophagitis exists.
    • Generally inferior to a CT scan in acute settings but helpful in partial SBO
    • Cannot be used in bowel ischemia Bowel ischemia Mesenteric ischemia is a rare, life-threatening condition caused by inadequate blood flow through the mesenteric vessels, which results in ischemia and necrosis of the intestinal wall. Mesenteric ischemia can be either acute or chronic. Mesenteric Ischemia, pregnancy Pregnancy The status during which female mammals carry their developing young (embryos or fetuses) in utero before birth, beginning from fertilization to birth. Pregnancy: Diagnosis, Physiology, and Care
    • Used as a diagnostic test:
      • Helps decide if surgery is still needed
      • Radiograph by 24 hours after administration: If the contrast reaches the colon Colon The large intestines constitute the last portion of the digestive system. The large intestine consists of the cecum, appendix, colon (with ascending, transverse, descending, and sigmoid segments), rectum, and anal canal. The primary function of the colon is to remove water and compact the stool prior to expulsion from the body via the rectum and anal canal. Colon, Cecum, and Appendix: Anatomy, SBO is likely resolving without surgery.
    • Used as therapeutic agent in adhesive mechanical SBO: Hypertonic Hypertonic Solutions that have a greater osmotic pressure than a reference solution such as blood, plasma, or interstitial fluid. Renal Sodium and Water Regulation gastrografin Gastrografin Computed Tomography (CT) reduces intestinal wall edema Edema Edema is a condition in which excess serous fluid accumulates in the body cavity or interstitial space of connective tissues. Edema is a symptom observed in several medical conditions. It can be categorized into 2 types, namely, peripheral (in the extremities) and internal (in an organ or body cavity). Edema, thus helping peristalsis Peristalsis A movement, caused by sequential muscle contraction, that pushes the contents of the intestines or other tubular organs in one direction. Gastrointestinal Motility
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): if CT is contraindicated (children, pregnant women)

Management and Prognosis

Medical management

Surgery

  • Emergent:
    • Closed-loop obstruction
    • Intestinal ischemia Intestinal ischemia Intestinal ischemia occurs when perfusion fails to meet the demands of the intestines, resulting in ischemic tissue injury that can be life-threatening if bowel necrosis and/or perforation occurs. Symptoms can range from mild indigestion or diarrhea to severe abdominal pain. Intestinal Ischemia/ necrosis Necrosis The death of cells in an organ or tissue due to disease, injury or failure of the blood supply. Ischemic Cell Damage
    • Perforation Perforation A pathological hole in an organ, blood vessel or other soft part of the body, occurring in the absence of external force. Esophagitis
  • Surgically correctable causes:
    • Tumor Tumor Inflammation
    • Foreign body Foreign Body Foreign Body Aspiration/gallstone
    • Hernia Hernia Protrusion of tissue, structure, or part of an organ through the bone, muscular tissue, or the membrane by which it is normally contained. Hernia may involve tissues such as the abdominal wall or the respiratory diaphragm. Hernias may be internal, external, congenital, or acquired. Abdominal Hernias
    • Intussusception Intussusception Intussusception occurs when a part of the intestine (intussusceptum) telescopes into another part (intussuscipiens) of the intestine. The condition can cause obstruction and, if untreated, progress to bowel ischemia. Intussusception is most common in the pediatric population, but is occasionally encountered in adults. Intussusception/ volvulus Volvulus A volvulus is the twisting or axial rotation of a portion of the bowel around its mesentery. The most common site of volvulus in adults is the colon; most frequently the sigmoid volvulus. Patients typically present with symptoms of bowel obstruction such as abdominal pain, distension, vomiting, and constipation/obstipation. Volvulus
  • For failure of medical management:
    • If SBO does not resolve in 72 hours on average
    • At any point if the patient shows clinical deterioration
  • Procedures (depend on specific etiologies):
    • Lysis of adhesions 
    • Hernia Hernia Protrusion of tissue, structure, or part of an organ through the bone, muscular tissue, or the membrane by which it is normally contained. Hernia may involve tissues such as the abdominal wall or the respiratory diaphragm. Hernias may be internal, external, congenital, or acquired. Abdominal Hernias repair
    • Extraction of gallstone or foreign body Foreign Body Foreign Body Aspiration
    • Small bowel Small bowel The small intestine is the longest part of the GI tract, extending from the pyloric orifice of the stomach to the ileocecal junction. The small intestine is the major organ responsible for chemical digestion and absorption of nutrients. It is divided into 3 segments: the duodenum, the jejunum, and the ileum. Small Intestine: Anatomy resection:
      • Tumor Tumor Inflammation
      • Ischemic bowel
      • Perforation Perforation A pathological hole in an organ, blood vessel or other soft part of the body, occurring in the absence of external force. Esophagitis
      • Crohn’s disease

Prognosis Prognosis A prediction of the probable outcome of a disease based on a individual’s condition and the usual course of the disease as seen in similar situations. Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas

  • < 5% perioperative mortality Mortality All deaths reported in a given population. Measures of Health Status rate for non-strangulating SBO
  • Higher perioperative mortality Mortality All deaths reported in a given population. Measures of Health Status rate for strangulating or complicated SBO
  • Probability Probability Probability is a mathematical tool used to study randomness and provide predictions about the likelihood of something happening. There are several basic rules of probability that can be used to help determine the probability of multiple events happening together, separately, or sequentially. Basics of Probability of recurrence increases with each episode of SBO, until surgery is performed.

Differential Diagnosis

  • Irritable bowel syndrome Irritable bowel syndrome Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional bowel disease characterized by chronic abdominal pain and altered bowel habits without an identifiable organic cause. The etiology and pathophysiology of this disease are not well understood, and there are many factors that may contribute. Irritable Bowel Syndrome ( IBS IBS Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional bowel disease characterized by chronic abdominal pain and altered bowel habits without an identifiable organic cause. The etiology and pathophysiology of this disease are not well understood, and there are many factors that may contribute. Irritable Bowel Syndrome): a functional bowel disorder without a clear anatomic abnormality. Irritable bowel syndrome Irritable bowel syndrome Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional bowel disease characterized by chronic abdominal pain and altered bowel habits without an identifiable organic cause. The etiology and pathophysiology of this disease are not well understood, and there are many factors that may contribute. Irritable Bowel Syndrome can present with abdominal pain Abdominal Pain Acute Abdomen and constipation Constipation Constipation is common and may be due to a variety of causes. Constipation is generally defined as bowel movement frequency < 3 times per week. Patients who are constipated often strain to pass hard stools. The condition is classified as primary (also known as idiopathic or functional constipation) or secondary, and as acute or chronic. Constipation, but the sudden onset of symptoms is not a feature of IBS IBS Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional bowel disease characterized by chronic abdominal pain and altered bowel habits without an identifiable organic cause. The etiology and pathophysiology of this disease are not well understood, and there are many factors that may contribute. Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Imaging and laboratory tests are usually normal in IBS IBS Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional bowel disease characterized by chronic abdominal pain and altered bowel habits without an identifiable organic cause. The etiology and pathophysiology of this disease are not well understood, and there are many factors that may contribute. Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
  • Gastroenteritis Gastroenteritis Gastroenteritis is inflammation of the stomach and intestines, commonly caused by infections from bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Transmission may be foodborne, fecal-oral, or through animal contact. Common clinical features include abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and dehydration. Gastroenteritis: an acute self-limited illness usually caused by a virus Virus Viruses are infectious, obligate intracellular parasites composed of a nucleic acid core surrounded by a protein capsid. Viruses can be either naked (non-enveloped) or enveloped. The classification of viruses is complex and based on many factors, including type and structure of the nucleoid and capsid, the presence of an envelope, the replication cycle, and the host range. Virology. Gastroenteritis Gastroenteritis Gastroenteritis is inflammation of the stomach and intestines, commonly caused by infections from bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Transmission may be foodborne, fecal-oral, or through animal contact. Common clinical features include abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and dehydration. Gastroenteritis can also present with crampy abdominal pain Abdominal Pain Acute Abdomen, but the typical presentation Presentation The position or orientation of the fetus at near term or during obstetric labor, determined by its relation to the spine of the mother and the birth canal. The normal position is a vertical, cephalic presentation with the fetal vertex flexed on the neck. Normal and Abnormal Labor also involves diarrhea Diarrhea Diarrhea is defined as ≥ 3 watery or loose stools in a 24-hour period. There are a multitude of etiologies, which can be classified based on the underlying mechanism of disease. The duration of symptoms (acute or chronic) and characteristics of the stools (e.g., watery, bloody, steatorrheic, mucoid) can help guide further diagnostic evaluation. Diarrhea (watery or bloody), which is infrequent with acute SBO.
  • Peptic ulcer Peptic ulcer Peptic ulcer disease (PUD) refers to the full-thickness ulcerations of duodenal or gastric mucosa. The ulcerations form when exposure to acid and digestive enzymes overcomes mucosal defense mechanisms. The most common etiologies include Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection and prolonged use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Peptic Ulcer Disease disease ( PUD PUD Peptic ulcer disease (PUD) refers to the full-thickness ulcerations of duodenal or gastric mucosa. The ulcerations form when exposure to acid and digestive enzymes overcomes mucosal defense mechanisms. The most common etiologies include Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection and prolonged use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Peptic Ulcer Disease): mucosal ulceration Ulceration Corneal Abrasions, Erosion, and Ulcers of the stomach Stomach The stomach is a muscular sac in the upper left portion of the abdomen that plays a critical role in digestion. The stomach develops from the foregut and connects the esophagus with the duodenum. Structurally, the stomach is C-shaped and forms a greater and lesser curvature and is divided grossly into regions: the cardia, fundus, body, and pylorus. Stomach: Anatomy or duodenum Duodenum The shortest and widest portion of the small intestine adjacent to the pylorus of the stomach. It is named for having the length equal to about the width of 12 fingers. Small Intestine: Anatomy. Peptic ulcer Peptic ulcer Peptic ulcer disease (PUD) refers to the full-thickness ulcerations of duodenal or gastric mucosa. The ulcerations form when exposure to acid and digestive enzymes overcomes mucosal defense mechanisms. The most common etiologies include Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection and prolonged use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Peptic Ulcer Disease disease presents with upper abdominal pain Abdominal Pain Acute Abdomen, nausea Nausea An unpleasant sensation in the stomach usually accompanied by the urge to vomit. Common causes are early pregnancy, sea and motion sickness, emotional stress, intense pain, food poisoning, and various enteroviruses. Antiemetics, and vomiting Vomiting The forcible expulsion of the contents of the stomach through the mouth. Hypokalemia Peptic ulcer Peptic ulcer Peptic ulcer disease (PUD) refers to the full-thickness ulcerations of duodenal or gastric mucosa. The ulcerations form when exposure to acid and digestive enzymes overcomes mucosal defense mechanisms. The most common etiologies include Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection and prolonged use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Peptic Ulcer Disease disease is typically not associated with distention and constipation Constipation Constipation is common and may be due to a variety of causes. Constipation is generally defined as bowel movement frequency < 3 times per week. Patients who are constipated often strain to pass hard stools. The condition is classified as primary (also known as idiopathic or functional constipation) or secondary, and as acute or chronic. Constipation Vomiting Vomiting The forcible expulsion of the contents of the stomach through the mouth. Hypokalemia is usually non-bilious.
  • Appendicitis Appendicitis Appendicitis is the acute inflammation of the vermiform appendix and the most common abdominal surgical emergency globally. The condition has a lifetime risk of 8%. Characteristic features include periumbilical abdominal pain that migrates to the right lower quadrant, fever, anorexia, nausea, and vomiting. Appendicitis: inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation of the appendix Appendix A worm-like blind tube extension from the cecum. Colon, Cecum, and Appendix: Anatomy. Early appendicitis Appendicitis Appendicitis is the acute inflammation of the vermiform appendix and the most common abdominal surgical emergency globally. The condition has a lifetime risk of 8%. Characteristic features include periumbilical abdominal pain that migrates to the right lower quadrant, fever, anorexia, nausea, and vomiting. Appendicitis can present with diffuse colicky pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways, but pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways and tenderness eventually localize to the right lower quadrant Right lower quadrant Anterior Abdominal Wall: Anatomy. Diagnosis is established by a CT scan.
  • Pancreatitis Pancreatitis Inflammation of the pancreas. Pancreatitis is classified as acute unless there are computed tomographic or endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatographic findings of chronic pancreatitis. The two most common forms of acute pancreatitis are alcoholic pancreatitis and gallstone pancreatitis. Acute Pancreatitis: inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation of the pancreas Pancreas The pancreas lies mostly posterior to the stomach and extends across the posterior abdominal wall from the duodenum on the right to the spleen on the left. This organ has both exocrine and endocrine tissue. Pancreas: Anatomy. Pancreatitis Pancreatitis Inflammation of the pancreas. Pancreatitis is classified as acute unless there are computed tomographic or endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatographic findings of chronic pancreatitis. The two most common forms of acute pancreatitis are alcoholic pancreatitis and gallstone pancreatitis. Acute Pancreatitis presents with epigastric pain Epigastric pain Mallory-Weiss Syndrome (Mallory-Weiss Tear), nausea Nausea An unpleasant sensation in the stomach usually accompanied by the urge to vomit. Common causes are early pregnancy, sea and motion sickness, emotional stress, intense pain, food poisoning, and various enteroviruses. Antiemetics, and vomiting Vomiting The forcible expulsion of the contents of the stomach through the mouth. Hypokalemia. Blood work will show elevated amylase Amylase A group of amylolytic enzymes that cleave starch, glycogen, and related alpha-1, 4-glucans. Digestion and Absorption/ lipase Lipase An enzyme of the hydrolase class that catalyzes the reaction of triacylglycerol and water to yield diacylglycerol and a fatty acid anion. It is produced by glands on the tongue and by the pancreas and initiates the digestion of dietary fats. Malabsorption and Maldigestion. A CT scan may show pancreatic inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation.
  • Diverticulitis Diverticulitis Inflammation of a diverticulum or diverticula. Diverticular Disease: inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation of the colonic diverticula. Diverticulitis Diverticulitis Inflammation of a diverticulum or diverticula. Diverticular Disease presents with crampy lower abdominal pain Abdominal Pain Acute Abdomen, many times with constipation Constipation Constipation is common and may be due to a variety of causes. Constipation is generally defined as bowel movement frequency < 3 times per week. Patients who are constipated often strain to pass hard stools. The condition is classified as primary (also known as idiopathic or functional constipation) or secondary, and as acute or chronic. Constipation. Diverticulitis Diverticulitis Inflammation of a diverticulum or diverticula. Diverticular Disease frequently is also associated with fever Fever Fever is defined as a measured body temperature of at least 38°C (100.4°F). Fever is caused by circulating endogenous and/or exogenous pyrogens that increase levels of prostaglandin E2 in the hypothalamus. Fever is commonly associated with chills, rigors, sweating, and flushing of the skin. Fever and leukocytosis Leukocytosis A transient increase in the number of leukocytes in a body fluid. West Nile Virus. A CT scan shows the characteristic findings.

References

  1. Bordeianou, L., & Yeh, D.D. (2019). Etiologies, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis of mechanical small bowel obstruction in adults. Retrieved 3 December 2020, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/etiologies-clinical-manifestations-and-diagnosis-of-mechanical-small-bowel-obstruction-in-adults?search=bowel%20obstruction&source=search_result&selectedTitle=1~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=1
  2. Bordeianou, L., & Yeh, D.D. (2020). Management of small bowel obstruction in adults. Retrieved 4 December 2020, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/overview-of-mechanical-colorectal-obstruction?search=bowel%20obstruction&source=search_result&selectedTitle=3~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=3
  3. Kulaylat, M.N., Doerr, R.J., Holzheimer, R.G., & Mannick, J.A. (Eds.) (2001) Small bowel obstruction. Surgical Treatment: Evidence-based and Problem-oriented. Munich: Zuckschwerdt. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK6873/
  4. Shah, V., & Gaillard, F. (2020). Paralytic ileus (mnemonic). Retrieved 5 Dec 2020, from https://radiopaedia.org/articles/paralytic-ileus-mnemonic
  5. Tavakkoli, A., Ashley, S.W., & Zinner, M.J. (2019). Small intestine. In Brunicardi, F., Andersen, D.K., Billiar, T.R., Dunn, D.L., Kao, L.S., Hunter, J.G., Matthews, J.B., & Pollock, R.E. (Eds.), Schwartz’s Principles of Surgery, 11e. McGraw-Hill.

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