Management and outcome of pneumatosis intestinalis

Academic Article


  • Background: Pneumatosis intestinalis (PI), infiltration of gas into the bowel wall, has traditionally been associated with immediate operative intervention and a high mortality rate. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the diagnosis and management of pneumatosis in an attempt to characterize the disease, and examined management strategies. Results: Ninety-seven patients had a computed tomography (CT) diagnosis of pneumatosis. The location of pneumatosis was as follows: 46% colon, 27% small bowel, 5% stomach, and 7% both small and large bowel. Fourteen patients also had portal venous gas and 6 (43%) of these patients died. Management strategy was non-operative in 52%, operative in 33%, and futile care in 15%. The overall mortality rate was 22% (16% operative, 6% non-operative, and 87% futile). Patients who died had a higher mean APACHE II score (25 vs 11, P <.001). Conclusions: Approximately 50% of patients with pneumatosis can be successfully managed non-operatively. The combination of PI and portal venous gas may confer a higher mortality rate. © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 21375750
  • Author List

  • Morris MS; Gee AC; Cho SD; Limbaugh K; Underwood S; Ham B; Schreiber MA
  • Start Page

  • 679
  • End Page

  • 683
  • Volume

  • 195
  • Issue

  • 5