Which abdominal views are indicated in the workup of sepsis/septic shock and when should they be obtained?

Updated: Oct 07, 2020
  • Author: Andre Kalil, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Michael R Pinsky, MD, CM, Dr(HC), FCCP, FAPS, MCCM  more...
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Supine and upright or lateral decubitus abdominal radiographs should be obtained; these may be useful when an intra-abdominal source of sepsis is suspected. Abdominal plain films should be obtained if clinical evidence of bowel obstruction or perforation exists. However, if obvious signs of diffuse peritonitis are present and immediate surgical intervention is planned, further diagnostic imaging is not required. [2]

In adult patients with suspected intra-abdominal infection who are not undergoing immediate laparotomy, computed tomography (CT) of the abdomen is preferable to abdominal radiography. [2]

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