Closed loop obstruction

Case contributed by Dr Kenny Sim


Abdominal pain and distension. Past history of appendectomy.

Patient Data

Age: 50 years
Gender: Male

CT abdomen and pelvis

Within the right iliac fossa, there is a closed loop obstruction of a portion of small bowel. The involved small bowel is distended and fluid filled. A portion of the involved small bowel demonstrates reduced mucosal enhancement. No pneumatosis intestinalis. There is a swirling pattern of the mesenteric vessels entering this closed loop obstruction. There is localized free intraperitoneal fluid within the right iliac fossa, as well as a thin rind of fluid surrounding the liver.

The large bowel has an unremarkable appearance. The upper abdominal solid organs are unremarkable. The portal vein opacifies normally. No portal vein gas. No free intraperitoneal gas.


Closed loop obstruction of small bowel within the right iliac fossa. A portion of small bowel involved in this closed loop obstruction demonstrates hypoenhancement, concerning for ischemic bowel. The etiology of the closed loop obstruction is favored to be secondary to small bowel volvulus due to the swirling pattern of the mesenteric vessels.

Case Discussion

The patient was taken for emergency laparotomy, which showed small bowel volvulus deep to an adhesion within the right iliac fossa (presumed secondary to the previous history of appendectomy). Upon relief of the volvulus, a short 10 cm segment of small bowel was found to be infarcted, corresponding to the segment of hypoenhancing bowel identified on CT.

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Case information

rID: 35190
Published: 4th Apr 2015
Last edited: 14th Aug 2019
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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