Value of MDCT and Clinical and Laboratory Data for Predicting the Need for Surgical Intervention in Suspected Small-Bowel Obstruction.

Academic Article


  • OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this article is to assess the value of a large panel of clinical and MDCT variables in patients with suspected small-bowel obstruction (SBO) for predicting urgent surgical intervention (< 72 hours), bowel ischemia, and bowel resection. MATERIALS AND METHODS: MDCT studies performed at admission for 179 nonconsecutive adults (mean age, 55.8 years; 86 men and 93 women) with suspected SBO were retrospectively reviewed by three board-certified radiologists. In addition to assessing individual CT features, each radiologist scored the overall likelihood of each main outcome measure using a 5-point scale. All relevant clinical and laboratory data were abstracted from electronic medical record review. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed. RESULTS: Among all 179 patients with suspected SBO, 56 (31.3%) underwent surgical intervention within 72 hours, 10 (5.6%) had ischemia at surgery, and nine (5.0%) required small-bowel resection. On univariate analysis, multiple CT findings were highly significant (p < 0.01) for predicting the main surgical outcomes, including degree of obstruction, 5-point radiology likelihood scores, and the presence of a transition point, closed loop, and mesenteric congestion. None of the objective clinical or laboratory variables (including serum lactate level) reached this level of significance. At multivariate analysis, forward stepwise logistic regression with 0.05 significance level cutoff included both degree of obstruction (p < 0.001) and closed loop (p < 0.01), with the presence of a transition point showing a trend toward significance (p = 0.081). CONCLUSION: A number of findings at abdominal MDCT are associated with the need for surgery and other important surgical outcomes in patients with suspected SBO. Overall radiologist impression of need for surgical intervention was a better predictor than any clinical or laboratory parameter.
  • Published In


  • CT, small-bowel obstruction, surgery, Clinical Laboratory Techniques, Digestive System Surgical Procedures, Female, Humans, Intestinal Obstruction, Intestine, Small, Male, Middle Aged, Multidetector Computed Tomography, Patient Selection, Preoperative Care, Prevalence, Prognosis, Reproducibility of Results, Retrospective Studies, Risk Assessment, Sensitivity and Specificity, Wisconsin
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Scrima A; Lubner MG; King S; Pankratz J; Kennedy G; Pickhardt PJ
  • Start Page

  • 785
  • End Page

  • 793
  • Volume

  • 208
  • Issue

  • 4