Thursday, April 12, 2007


Pneumoperitoneum is air or gas in the abdominal (peritoneal) cavity.

A pneumoperitoneum is deliberately created by the surgical team in order to perform laparoscopic surgery. This is achieved by insufflating the abdomen with carbon dioxide.


The most common cause is a perforated abdominal viscus, generally a perforated ulcer, although any part of the bowel may perforate from a benign ulcer, tumor or trauma.

A perforated appendix seldom causes a pneumoperitoneum.


It is often seen on x-ray, but small amounts are often missed and CT is nowadays regarded as the gold standard in the assessment because CT can visualize as small as 5 cm cubic air.


Increased intrathoracic pressure -> decreased venous return. This means that DVT prophylaxis is required!!


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