Spectrum of Signs of Pneumoperitoneum

Antonio Pinto, Vittorio Miele, Maria Laura Schillirò, Michelangelo Nasuto, Vincenzo Chiaese, Luigia Romano, Giuseppe Guglielmi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pneumoperitoneum is caused by rupture of a hollow viscus that includes the stomach, small bowel, and large bowel, with the exception of those portions that are retroperitoneal in the duodenum and colon. The causes of pneumoperitoneum are numerous, ranging from iatrogenic and benign causes to more life-threatening conditions. In the absence of a benign cause of pneumoperitoneum, the identification of free intraperitoneal gas usually indicates the need for emergency surgery to repair a perforated bowel. The plain film is the primary diagnostic tool for detecting pneumoperitoneum: multiple signs of free intraperitoneal air can be found especially on supine abdominal radiographs. Computed tomography (CT) examination has been shown to be more sensitive than abdominal radiographs for the detection of free intraperitoneal air. It is important that the radiologist become familiar with the signs of pneumoperitoneum that can be discerned on abdominal radiographs, on CT scout view, and on CT scan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-9
Number of pages7
JournalSeminars in Ultrasound, CT and MRI
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'Spectrum of Signs of Pneumoperitoneum'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this