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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Tension Pneumoperitoneum Caused by Obstipation


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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