How are small-bowel obstructions (SBOs) characterized and what are the known complications?

Updated: Apr 28, 2017
  • Author: Mityanand Ramnarine, MD, FACEP; Chief Editor: Steven C Dronen, MD, FAAEM  more...
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Obstruction can be characterized as either partial or complete versus simple or strangulated. No single accurate clinical picture exists to detect early strangulation of obstruction, although signs of peritonitis, elevated lactate levels, leukocytosis, and the presence of free air and pneumatosis coli are known complications.

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