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Open Access Publications from the University of California

False Elevation of Volume Determined by Bladder Scanner Secondary to Bowel Obstruction


Bladder scanners allow for quick determination of bladder volumes (BV) with minimal training. BV measured by a machine is generally accurate; however, circumstances exist in which falsely elevated BVs are reported. This case details a patient with a significant small bowel obstruction (SBO) due to superior mesenteric artery syndrome causing a falsely elevated BV. We believe this is the first case report of a SBO causing an elevated BV by bladder scanner. Emergency physicians should be aware of the pitfalls of using bladder scanners, and use their point-of-care ultrasound skills when possible to expand their differential.

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