Radiopaque bismuth within the colon (pepto-Bismol®)

Case contributed by Dr J. Ray Ballinger

Presentation

Abdominal pain. No history of recent diagnostic barium studies.

Patient Data

Age: 77 years
Gender: Female

Radiopaque material is seen in the right side of the colon on plain film.

Radiopaque material is seen in the right side of the colon on CT. The enlarged right kidney and dilated collecting system was a result of bleeding from an elevated INR = 27. 

Case Discussion

The patient had been drinking copious amounts of Pepto-Bismol® for her abdominal pains. The active ingredient of Pepto-Bismol is bismuth salicylate.

Bismuth is a white, crystalline metal with a pinkish tinge. Its atomic number is quite high (83), and it is in the same row of the periodic table as barium and lead, hence its radiopaque properties.

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Case Information

rID: 23656
Case created: 30th Jun 2013
Last edited: 5th Aug 2016
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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