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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Spontaneous idiopathic pneumoperitoneum with acute abdomen

Nidal İflazoğlu, Oruç Numan Gökçe, Mefküre Mine Kıvrak, Betül Kocamer
Ulusal Cerrahi Dergisi 2015, 31 (2): 110-2
26170747
Pneumoperitoneum is often caused by visceral perforation, and usually manifests with symptoms of peritonitis requiring surgical intervention. Non-surgical spontaneous pneumoperitoneum (ie. not associated with organ perforation) is a rare entity due to intrathoracic, intra-abdominal, gynecologic, iatrogenic or other reasons, and is usually treated conservatively. Idiopathic spontaneous pneumoperitoneum is even rarer than visceral perforation or other causes of free intra-abdominal air. In this report, we present a case of idiopathic spontaneous pneumoperitoneum. A seventy-five-year-old female patient presented with acute abdominal pain, low-grade fever, and nausea. Her abdominal examination findings were vague, and she did not have leukocytosis. Free intra-abdominal air was detected on plain X-ray, she was followed-up with cessation of oral intake, nasogastric tube, fluid resuscitation and prophylactic antibiotics for one day. There were no signs of acute abdomen except diffuse abdominal tenderness by deep palpation on the first day examination. There was a mild leukocytosis with a shift to the left in leukocytes, and pneumoperitoneum on abdominal X-ray. The abdominal computed tomography revealed free intra-abdominal air and minimal free fluid in Douglas pouch. Her past medical history revealed cholecystectomy (10 years ago) with no chronic diseases, regular medications, smoking, or alcohol consumption. The patient underwent emergency laparotomy. Despite lack of an identifiable cause and uncertainty of etiology, the patient was discharged on postoperative day 5. A thorough medical history, appropriate laboratory tests and radiological techniques and physical examination should be combined for identification of patients with non-surgical pneumoperitoneum, and avoid unnecessary laparotomy, while minimally invasive techniques such as laparoscopy should be considered as part of evaluation.

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