Investigating nausea and vomiting (summary)
Citation, DOI and article data
This is a basic article for medical students and other non-radiologists
Nausea and vomiting (often abbreviated in medical notes to N&V) are non-specific physical manifestations of disease. They may occur together, or in isolation and may be the result of obstructive pathology or as a general manifestation of systemic disease. As such, radiological investigation must be driven by other factors including history and examination as well as other tests, including blood results.
This is a summary article; we do not have a more in-depth reference article.
- is this a mechanical obstruction?
- timing of symptom onset
- are the hernial orifices normal?
- has the patient had abdominal surgery previously?
- is the patient well enough for investigation?
- commonly used, but of limited value
- only helpful if the bowel is dilated and gas-filled
- contrast-enhanced examination
- quantifies bowel dilatation
- identifies transition point
- helps determine cause
- assessment of complications (perforation and ischemia)
- not that useful in cases of mechanical obstruction
- can visualize fluid-filled loops
- transition point and cause will be difficult to identify
- the exception: children and intussusception
- upper GI contrast study
- only really ever used in a pediatric context
- abdominal x-ray
making the request
- know the question that the team is asking
- what is the differential and the most likely diagnosis?
- what is the surgical history?
- common pathology