Diagnosis of bowel infarction: A comparison of plain films and CT scans in 23 cases

M. J. Smerud, C. D. Johnson, D. H. Stephens

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157 Scopus citations


We retrospectively reviewed abdominal CT and plain film findings in 23 proved cases of mesenteric infarction to compare the value of the two techniques. Criteria considered specific for infarction on CT were identified in nine (39%) of 23 patients and comprised pneumatosis in seven patients (30%), mesenteric or portal venous gas in three patients (13%), and focally thick-walled bowel in two patients (9%). Criteria considered specific for bowel infarction on plain films were identified in seven (30%) of 23 patients and comprised focally edematous bowel in six patients (26%) and pneumatosis intestinalis in one patient (4%). Only one patient had specific changes on both CT and plain films, but 15 (65%) of the 23 showed specific changes on at least one study. The results indicate that plain films remain an important tool in patients suspected of mesenteric infarction and can provide information that is complementary to CT. Also, as both studies were nonspecific in eight (35%) of our patients, negative or nonspecific findings should not deter further diagnostic or interventional procedures in patients in whom the clinical suspicion of bowel infarction is high.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-103
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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