Citation, DOI, disclosures and case data
At the time the case was submitted for publication Dr Rubeena Ali had no recorded disclosures.View Dr Rubeena Ali's current disclosures
Acute onset abdominal pain after per rectal instrumentation with pneumatic tool. On examination abdomen was tense and tender with absent bowel sounds.
X-ray chest (erect) done after keeping the patient in a standing position for 10 minutes.
It shows free air under bilateral hemidiaphragms with continuous diaphragm sign. Bilateral hemidiaphragms are also raised secondary to increased intraabdominal pressure.
On supine view, an ovoid lucency is noted overlying the abdomen suggestive of the football sign.
On erect view, massive free intraperitoneal air is noted causing central displacement of upper abdominal viscera and downward displacement of the bowel loops.
Tension pneumoperitoneum is a surgical emergency. It can occur secondary to iatrogenic injury during endoscopy, pneumothorax in patients on mechanical ventilation, and also in cases of per rectal instrumentation by pneumatic tools.
It leads to increase intraabdominal pressure and elevation of diaphragm with resultant reduced volume of the thoracic cavity. Also compression of large abdominal vessels can lead to hemodynamic instability.
Radiographic diagnosis is almost always certain. On x-ray, findings include:
large volumes of free intraperitoneal gas displacing the abdominal viscera towards the center of the abdomen on erect abdominal x-ray
football sign on supine abdominal x-ray
continuous diaphragm sign on chest x-ray
As it is life threatening, so immediate surgical intervention is required which is usually needle decompression followed by exploratory laparotomy.