Questions and answers

What causes air-fluid levels in bowel obstruction?

What causes air-fluid levels in bowel obstruction?

X-rays of the abdomen are important in diagnosing the presence of small bowel obstruction. When obstruction occurs, both fluid and gas collect in the intestine. They produce a characteristic pattern called “air-fluid levels”. The air rises above the fluid and there is a flat surface at the “air-fluid” interface.

Does bowel obstruction cause fluid retention?

Abdominal compartment syndrome due to colonic obstruction can contribute to the development of lower-extremity edema. Colon decompression with reduction of intra-abdominal pressure can lead to resolution of edema in this situation.

What does multiple air-fluid levels mean?

Air-fluid levels are common in normal bowel, but multiple ones (>3 air-fluid levels) usually indicate intestinal obstruction [2]. If an air-fluid level is seen on CT of the peritoneal cavity, then it means gastrointestinal-tract perforation or abscess collections.

What lab values indicate small bowel obstruction?

Complete blood cell (CBC) count: The white blood cell (WBC) count may be elevated with a left shift in simple or strangulated obstructions; increased hematocrit is an indicator of volume state (ie, dehydration) Serum lactate levels: Increased levels are suggestive of dehydration or tissue underperfusion.

Can a bowel obstruction be seen on ultrasound?

These images are more detailed than a standard X-ray, and are more likely to show an intestinal obstruction. Ultrasound. When an intestinal obstruction occurs in children, ultrasound is often the preferred type of imaging.

What causes closed loop bowel obstruction?

Closed loop obstruction is a specific type of obstruction in which two points along the course of a bowel are obstructed at a single location thus forming a closed loop. Usually this is due to adhesions, a twist of the mesentery or internal herniation. In the large bowel it is known as a volvulus.

Does a CT scan show bowel obstruction?

A CT scan combines a series of X-ray images taken from different angles to produce cross-sectional images. These images are more detailed than a standard X-ray, and are more likely to show an intestinal obstruction.

What are the warning signs of a bowel obstruction?

Signs and symptoms of intestinal obstruction include:

  • Crampy abdominal pain that comes and goes.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Constipation.
  • Vomiting.
  • Inability to have a bowel movement or pass gas.
  • Swelling of the abdomen.

Why is a CBC ordered for bowel obstruction?

What are air fluid levels?

Any air fluid levels in the large bowel are considered abnormal. Just as described in the small bowel, this indicates a diminished/lost bowel transport, either due to obstruction or a loss/diminished peristalsis. Distention of the large bowel often is readily visualized on plain films.

What are fluid filled loops of bowel?

Fluid filled bowel loops on ultrasound implies that the intestines show presence of fluid. This can result from mild infection causing the pain in abdomen. Since there is no abnormal dilated bowel loops, I do not consider it as a serious finding.

What does “dilated small bowel loops” mean?

The loops of the small bowel are dilated, and associated with small calcific nodules in the right iliac fossa are seen. These findings are suggestive of appendicoliths. At laparotomy, an appendiceal mass was found; this caused the small-bowel obstruction.

What is fluid filled small bowel?

Obstruction : That radiologic finding is usually a result of a bowel obstruction, but can also be seen sometimes in severe diarrhea. When the bowel is blocked the secretions from your intestines and stomach cannot pass into the colon where the liquid is reabsorbed. This cause the fluid to fill the bowel and stretch it.