Buscar en
GE - Portuguese Journal of Gastroenterology
Toda la web
Inicio GE - Portuguese Journal of Gastroenterology Idiopathic Pneumatosis Intestinalis, Radiological and Endoscopic Images
Journal Information
Vol. 23. Issue 5.
Pages 270-272 (September - October 2016)
Download PDF
More article options
Vol. 23. Issue 5.
Pages 270-272 (September - October 2016)
Images in Gastroenterology and Hepatology
DOI: 10.1016/j.jpge.2016.01.005
Open Access
Idiopathic Pneumatosis Intestinalis, Radiological and Endoscopic Images
Pneumatosis Coli Idiopática, Imagens Radiológicas e Endoscópicas
Maria Fraga
Corresponding author

Corresponding author.
, Maria João Nunes da Silva, Margarida Lucas
Medicine 2 Department, Hospital de Santa Maria Centro Hospitalar de Lisboa Norte, Lisbon, Portugal
Article information
Full Text
Download PDF
Figures (2)
Full Text

A 66-year-old female, hypertensive, presented with pain and abdominal distension, constipation, flatulence and “pencil thin stool” that developed over six months, with no other symptoms, namely weight loss. There was no travel history, diet change, sick contacts, abdominal surgery or gastrointestinal diseases. She denied alcohol or tobacco. She was not taking any medication or supplements with the exception of the usual antihypertensive therapy. In the physical examination she was hemodynamically stable with abdominal distention and mild abdominal pain, but without peritoneal reaction. Laboratory evaluation was normal as well as gasometric parameters. Abdominal computed tomography (CT) evidenced the presence of gas in the abdominal wall, at the level of the transverse and rectum-sigmoid colon (Fig. 1), with no other changes. Colonoscopy showed small emphysematous formations in the left colon, emptying with pinprick (Fig. 2) confirming pneumatosis intestinalis (PI). An idiopathic PI was admitted in view of the absence of a secondary cause of PI and endoscopic images of discrete bubbles of gas instead crescentic or linear gas collections more often associated with secondary PI. After low fiber diet, dimethicone, laxatives and two weeks of oral metronidazole the complaints disappeared as well as PI on abdominal CT three months later. PI is a rare clinical entity that can be associated with several diseases including intestinal ischemia and bowel perforation.1 In 15% of the cases is idiopathic, occurring in a benign context1,2 and medical therapy can induce remission3–5 as illustrated here.

Figure 1.

(A and B) The gas in the abdominal wall (arrows) at the level of the transverse colon and rectum-sigmoid colon is clearly visible on the computed tomography (CT). (C and D) CT scan in a lung window demonstrates more easily the presence of gas in the bowel wall.

Figure 2.

Colonoscopy showed multiple small submucosal cysts in the left colon, emptying with pinprick.

Ethical disclosuresProtection of human and animal subjects

The authors declare that no experiments were performed on humans or animals for this study.

Confidentiality of data

The authors declare that no patient data appear in this article.

Right to privacy and informed consent

The authors declare that no patient data appear in this article.

Conflicts of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.


The authors would like to acknowledge Dr. A. Marques (Gastroenterology Department of University Hospital Santa Maria/CHLN) for the important collaboration.

F. Lassandro, T. Valente, G. Rea, G. Lassandro, E. Golia, L. Brunese, et al.
Imaging assessment and clinical significance of pneumatosis in adult patients.
Radiol Med, 120 (2015), pp. 96-104
H.A. Blair, R. Baker, R. Albazar.
Pneumatosis intestinalis an increasingly common radiological finding, benign or life-threatening? A case series.
BMJ Case Rep, (2015), pp. 18
C. Tseng, C. Yen, M. Chen.
Pneumatosis cystoides intestinalis.
Formos J Surg, 44 (2011), pp. 192-195
B.W. Ellis.
Symptomatic treatment of primary pneumatosis coli with metronidazole.
Br Med J, 280 (1980), pp. 763
T. Adar, K. Paz.
Pneumatosis intestinalis.
N Engl J Med, 368 (2013), pp. e19
Copyright © 2016. Sociedade Portuguesa de Gastrenterologia
Article options
es en pt

¿Es usted profesional sanitario apto para prescribir o dispensar medicamentos?

Are you a health professional able to prescribe or dispense drugs?

Você é um profissional de saúde habilitado a prescrever ou dispensar medicamentos

es en pt
Política de cookies Cookies policy Política de cookies
Utilizamos cookies propias y de terceros para mejorar nuestros servicios y mostrarle publicidad relacionada con sus preferencias mediante el análisis de sus hábitos de navegación. Si continua navegando, consideramos que acepta su uso. Puede cambiar la configuración u obtener más información aquí. To improve our services and products, we use "cookies" (own or third parties authorized) to show advertising related to client preferences through the analyses of navigation customer behavior. Continuing navigation will be considered as acceptance of this use. You can change the settings or obtain more information by clicking here. Utilizamos cookies próprios e de terceiros para melhorar nossos serviços e mostrar publicidade relacionada às suas preferências, analisando seus hábitos de navegação. Se continuar a navegar, consideramos que aceita o seu uso. Você pode alterar a configuração ou obter mais informações aqui.