Pneumatosis coli

Pneumatosis coli is a descriptive sign presenting radiographically as intramural gas limited to the colonic wall. 

There are different terminologies in the medical literature, such as pneumatosis intestinalis, pneumatosis coli, and pneumatosis cystoides intestinalis. Pneumatosis intestinalis is used when only the small bowel wall is involved. Pneumatosis cystoides intestinalis is descriptive for multiple gaseous cysts along the bowel wall.

In the paediatric population, it is most frequently seen in premature infants 1. Although symptoms are relatively mild, they are the same as those seen in early (stage I) necrotising enterocolitis.

In adults, the sign is usually found incidentally in asymptomatic patients 2.

Pseudopneumatosis (mimics) include:

  • gas trapped between bowel wall and luminal contents
  • gas trapped by opposing mucosal folds
  • gas bubbles adherent to the bowel wall
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Article information

rID: 8457
Section: Gamuts
Tag: rewrite
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Pneumatosis cystoides coli
  • Colonic pneumatosis
  • Pneumatosis cystoides intestinalis
  • Asymptomatic pneumatosis
  • Intramural pneumatosis
  • Mural pneumatosis

Cases and figures

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