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A Journal on Surgery

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Minerva Chirurgica 2003 June;58(3):385-8

language: English

Cystic pneumatosis of the colon after liver transplantation

Halkic S., Zeini S., Mosimann F., Gillet M.


Cystic pneumatosis (CP) is an uncommon but significant condition in adults in which gas is found in a linear or cystic form in the submucosa or the subserosa of the bowel wall. The diagnosis was made by conventional X-ray and confirmed by abdominal computed tomography. Benign pneumoperitoneum due to CP should be considered in the differential diagnosis of free intra-abdominal air after chemotherapeutic or immunosuppressive therapy. As such, pneumatosis intestinalis is only a sign and must be interpreted in light of the clinical findings because it may be found in various scenarios: in patients who are otherwise healthy, and associated with pyloric stenosis, jejunoileal bypass, progressive systemic sclerosis, transplantation, chemotherapy, immunosuppression (including AIDS), obstructive pulmonary disease and finally, as in our case, after liver transplantation. Since there were no signs of secondary complications such as peritonitis, ischemia, or perforation, conservative treatment with broad-spectrum antibiotics and parenteral nutrition was initiated.

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