Point-of-care ultrasonography for the diagnosis of small bowel obstruction in the emergency department

Joshua Guttman, Michael B Stone, Heidi H Kimberly, Joshua S Rempell
CJEM 2015, 17 (2): 206-9
Small bowel obstruction (SBO) is a common cause of acute abdominal pain presenting to the emergency department (ED). Although the literature is limited, point-of-care ultrasonography (POCUS) has been found to have superior diagnostic accuracy for SBO compared to plain radiography; however, it is rarely used in North America for this. We present the case of a middle-aged man who presented with abdominal pain where POCUS by the emergency physician early in the hospital course expedited the diagnosis of SBO and led to earlier surgical consultation. The application of POCUS for SBO is easily learned and applied in the ED. POCUS for SBO may obviate the need for plain radiography and expedite patient care.


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