Diagnostic value of pneumoperitoneum on plain abdominal film
Background. Pneumoperitoneum is the presence of air outside the gut lumen as the hallmark of alimentary tract perforation. It can be spontaneous or traumatic in origin. The most frequent cause of spontaneous pneumoperitoneum is the perforation of gastric or duodenal ulcer and the aim of the study was to assess the diagnostic value of pneumoperitoneum on plain abdominal film.
Patients and methods. This is a retrospective study based on the diagnostic value of pneumoperitoneum on plain abdominal film, with the patient in upright, supine and sometimes left lateral decubitus position. The study included 79 patients who were admitted to our hospital during a 2-year period of time (1998— 1999) and operated on for perforated gastroduodenal ulcer.
Results. Ten (12.66 %) of 79 patients underwent operation without radiological procedure. Sixty-nine (87.34 %) patients were examined radiographically and 53 (76.81 %) of them had signs of pneumoperitoneum initially on the plain film.
Conclusions. The most common cause of pneumoperitoneum was perforated duodenal ulcer in elderly male patients. The most frequent sign of pneumoperitoneum was the crescent shaped free air beneath the diaphragm.