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Asymptomatic pneumoperitoneum in the setting of pneumatosis intestinalis: a benign entity or surgical emergency?

Published:February 08, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clinimag.2021.02.011

      Highlights

      • Pneumoperitoneum and pneumatosis intestinalis do not always indicate a serious or life-threatening pathology.
      • Radiologists and clinicians should be aware of benign etiologies of pneumatosis intestinalis in clinical decision making.
      • Clinically stable patients with pneumatosis intestinalis may benefit from further workup rather than urgent intervention.

      Abstract

      Pneumatosis intestinalis is a potential cause of asymptomatic pneumoperitoneum without peritonitis. The disease can be managed conservatively and presents a clinical scenario where pneumoperitoneum does not necessitate surgical management. This case illustrates the importance of acknowledging the condition and its variable presentation, allowing for increased awareness and avoidance of invasive procedures when not indicated.

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