Pneumatosis intestinalis in abdominal CT: predictors of short-term mortality in patients with clinical suspicion of mesenteric ischemia
Simon D Graber, Stefanie Sinz, Matthias Turina, Hatem Alkadhi
Abdom Radiol (NY) . 2022 May;47(5):1625-1635. doi: 10.1007/s00261-022-03410-x. Epub 2022 Jan 20.
Purpose: Pneumatosis intestinalis (PI) in the bowel wall demonstrated in computed tomography (CT) of the abdomen is unspecific and its prognostic relevance remains poorly understood. The purpose of this study was to identify predictors of short-term mortality in patients with suspected mesenteric ischemia who were referred to abdominal CT and showed PI.
Methods: In this retrospective, IRB-approved, single-centre study, CT scans and electronic medical records of 540 patients who were referred to abdominal CT with clinical suspicion of mesenteric ischemia were analysed. 109/540 (20%) patients (median age 66 years, 39 females) showed PI. CT findings were correlated with surgical and pathology reports (if available), with clinical and laboratory findings, and with patient history. Short-term outcome was defined as survival within 30 days after CT.
Results: PI was found in the stomach (n = 6), small bowel (n = 65), and colon (n = 85). Further gas was found in mesenteric (n = 54), portal (n = 19) and intrahepatic veins (n = 36). Multivariate analysis revealed that PI in the colon [odds ratio (OR) 2.86], elevated blood AST levels (OR 3.00), and presence of perfusion inhomogeneities in other abdominal organs (OR 3.38) were independent predictors of short-term mortality. Surgery had a positive effect on mortality (88% lower likelihood of mortality), similar to the presence of abdominal pain (65% lower likelihood).
Conclusions: Our study suggests that in patients referred for abdominal CT with clinical suspicion of mesenteric ischemia, location of PI in the colon, elevation of blood AST, and presence of perfusion inhomogeneities in parenchymatous organs are predictors of short-term mortality.
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