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Potentially life-threatening emergency
Small bowel obstruction
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Other Resources UpToDate PubMed
Potentially life-threatening emergency

Small bowel obstruction

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Contributors: Michael W. Winter MD, Christine Osborne MD, Desiree Rivera-Nieves MD, Khaled Bittar MD, Nishant H. Patel MD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Synopsis

A small bowel obstruction occurs when intraluminal bowel contents are obstructed from regular flow in the small intestine. Impaired passage of bowel contents leads to proximal dilation. An obstruction is typically caused either from functional immobility or mechanical blockage.

Small bowel obstruction is characterized by abdominal pain, failure to move bowels or pass flatus, nausea, and often emesis, depending on the location of the obstruction. Patients who have had prior abdominal surgery, hernias, inflammatory intestinal processes, malignancies in or around the small intestine, foreign body ingestion, or prior radiation exposure are at particularly high risk for developing small bowel obstructions.

The greatest concern from a small bowel obstruction is the risk of increased dilation leading to necrosis and perforation of the bowel.

Codes

ICD10CM:
K56.609 – Unspecified intestinal obstruction, unspecified as to partial versus complete obstruction

SNOMEDCT:
281255004 – Small bowel obstruction

Look For

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Diagnostic Pearls

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Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

Best Tests

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Management Pearls

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Therapy

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Drug Reaction Data

Below is a list of drugs with literature evidence indicating an adverse association with this diagnosis. The list is continually updated through ongoing research and new medication approvals. Click on Citations to sort by number of citations or click on Medication to sort the medications alphabetically.

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References

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Last Reviewed: 04/18/2017
Last Updated: 04/18/2017
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Potentially life-threatening emergency
Small bowel obstruction
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Small bowel obstruction (Acute) : Abdominal pain, Nausea, Vomiting, Abdominal distension, Constipation, Periumbilical pain, BUN elevated, HR increased, BP decreased, WBC elevated, Cr elevated
Imaging Studies image of Small bowel obstruction
CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis demonstrating a dilated cecum with "whirl sign," which is made up of twisted bowel and mesocolon, consistent with cecal volvulus resulting in small bowel obstruction.
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