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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Tension Pneumoperitoneum Caused by Obstipation

  • Author(s): Miller, Daniel G
  • et al.

Emergency physicians are often required to evaluate and treat undifferentiated patients suffering acute hemodynamic compromise (AHC). It is helpful to apply a structured approach based on a differential diagnosis including all causes of AHC that can be identified and treated during a primary assessment. Tension pneumoperitoneum (TP) is an uncommon condition with the potential to be rapidly fatal. It is amenable to prompt diagnosis and stabilization in the emergency department. We present a case of a 16-year-old boy with TP to demonstrate how TP should be incorporated into a differential diagnosis when evaluating an undifferentiated patient with AHC.

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