Benign Posttraumatic Pseudopneumoperitoneum.
AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2017 Dec;209(6):1256-1262. doi: 10.2214/AJR.17.17851. Epub 2017 Oct 12. Currin SS1,2,3, Simmers CDA1,2,3, Tarr GP1,2,3, Harkness GJ1,2,3, Mirjalili SA1,2,3.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of our study was to retrospectively determine the anatomic distribution of chest wall ectopic gas resembling pneumoperitoneum (i.e., pseudopneumoperitoneum) and its relationship with trauma mechanisms and clinical outcomes using CT.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Investigators from two separate trauma referral centers screened 492 chest, abdomen, and pelvis CT examinations of patients who had sustained any form of trauma between 2010 and 2015. After excluding 186 patients with recognized causes of ectopic gas, 306 patients (211 men and 95 women; mean age, 44.5 years; range, 6-95 years) remained for analysis by two radiology residents in center 1 and a radiology resident in center 2. Positive cases were reviewed by all investigators, including an experienced fellowship-trained abdominal radiologist. The anatomic location of the pseudopneumoperitoneum, injury severity score, trauma velocity (high speed vs low or unknown speed), trauma mechanism, clinical findings on follow-up, and exploratory laparotomy data were collected for patients with pseudopneumoperitoneum. Two hundred consecutive nontrauma CT examinations from 2015 were selected as control cases by a resident in center 1. The t test and chi-square test were used for determining associations.
RESULTS: Pseudopneumoperitoneum was identified in 5.2% of patients, occurring bilaterally adjacent to the lower six costochondral junctions, and was significantly more common with high-velocity trauma than with low-velocity trauma (p = 0.010). None of the patients with pseudopneumoperitoneum had evidence of perforated hollow viscus at surgery (n = 2) or on clinical follow-up (n = 14). No patients had unnecessary surgery due to pseudopneumoperitoneum.
CONCLUSION: Pseudopneumoperitoneum is a posttraumatic phenomenon centered near the lower six costochondral junctions. Recognizing these findings may help prevent unnecessary laparotomy in the trauma setting.