A 64-year-old man was admitted to our emergency department due to epigastric pain and several episodes of vomiting. He was hemodynamically stable and had normal abdominal examination. Laboratory findings were without any abnormalities.
A thoraco-abdominal Computed Tomography (CT) scan was performed to rule out aortic dissection. It revealed no dissection but gas in the perigastric and portal veins (Figure A and B, arrows and arrowhead). Gastric and intestinal walls showed normal enhancement. There was neither free fluid nor free air in the abdominal cavity. Taking into account to the good patient condition, a conservative treatment was conducted. A repeat unenhanced CT was performed 12 hours after and showed complete resolution of the venous gas (Figure C).
The main theory to explain our CT images is that vomiting induced elevated intra-gastric pressure with translocation of air through the submucosa and spreading to the portal system. The good patient condition and the complete resolution several hours later confirmed the benign etiology. Other causes of perigastric venous air and subsequent aeroportia include mucosal injury (ulcer, trauma, caustic ingestion), infection (emphysematous gastritis) and ischemia .
Aeroportia must raise attention for severe abdominal pathology often requiring surgery, such as like bowel ischemia, but it’s important to know that it can be associated with benign lesions, such as the one herein described.
The authors have no competing interests to declare.
Arikh MP, Sherid M, Ganipisetti V, Gopalakrishnan V, Habib M, Tripathi M. Vomiting-induced gastric emphysema and hepatoportal venous gas: a case report and review of the literature. Case Rep Med. 2015; 2015: 413230. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/413230