String sign (bowel)

The gastrointestinal string sign (also known as the string sign of Kantor) refers to the string-like appearance of a contrast-filled bowel loop caused its severe narrowing.

Originally used to describe the reversible narrowing caused by spasms in Crohn disease, it is now used for any severe narrowing of the bowel lumen, including that seen in hypertrophic pyloric stenosis, gastrointestinal tuberculosis, carcinoid tumour and colon cancer.

History and etymology

Described in a short case series of six patients with terminal ileitis by John L Kantor, an American gastroenterologist from New York, in 1934 4. This was only two years after Crohn's seminal paper on his eponymous inflammatory bowel disease.

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Article information

rID: 1375
Section: Signs
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • String sign of Kantor

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Cases and figures

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    Case 1: Crohn disease
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    Case 2: pyloric stenosis
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    String sign
    Case 3: ileocecal TB
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    Case 4: pyloric stenosis
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