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Open Access Publications from the University of California

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

  • Author(s): Schowalter, Sean;
  • Altawil, Zaid;
  • Schechter-Perkins, Elissa M.;
  • Pare, Joseph R.
  • et al.

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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