Small bowel obstruction

Case contributed by Dr Maryam Saif AlAli


65 years old male with history of acute abdominal pain, constipation, nausea for one day .

Patient Data

Age: 65 years old
Gender: Male

Ultrasound abdomen with linear probe showed : dilated small bowel loop, with diameter 3.04 (> 2.5 cutoff of small bowel diameter).


Abdominal x-ray (erect):

Dilated small bowel loop with multiple air-fluid level suggestive of small bowel obstruction.

Case Discussion

Ultrasound of small bowel obstruction help to facilitate patient management, as it can be performed bedside, cheap, lacks ionizing radiation and need for contrast material.

Findings suggestive of small bowel obstruction:

  • dilated bowel loop (diameter > 2.5 cm)
  • decrees bowel peristalsis

Findings suggestive of bowel ischemia / infarction (will need urgent surgical evaluation):

  • fluid-filled distended bowel with extra luminal free fluid between bowel loops
  • no peristalsis
  • bowel wall thickening > 3mm


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Case information

rID: 43438
Published: 27th Apr 2016
Last edited: 14th Aug 2019
Inclusion in quiz mode: Excluded

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