VOLUME 38 - NUMBER 5 - 2017

Reversible pneumatosis cystoides intestinalis after liver transplantation

  • Telegrafo M., Stabile Ianora A.A., Angelelli G., Moschetta M.
  • Clinical practice, 239-242
  • Full text PDF

  • Pneumatosis cystoides intestinalis (PCI) is a rare disease characterized by the presence of multiple gas-filled cysts within the submucosa or subserosa of the intestinal wall. We report a case of PCI in a 54-yearold man 4 weeks after liver transplantation due to hepatitis B virus (HBV)-associated liver cirrhosis presenting with illness, diarrhea and abdominal pain. CT scans revealed normal shape of the abdominal parenchymal organs and no intra-hepatic complication due to liver transplantation. Main abdominal venous and arterial vessels resulted patent. Colic loops appeared diffusely thickened for the presence of variable diameter air-filled cysts located within the bowel wall. The patient underwent conservative treatment and the CT control after 4 weeks showed a complete PCI resolution. PCI after adult liver transplantation is probably due to the pre-transplantation chemotherapy, immunosuppressive therapy and opportunistic enteric infections. Abdominal CT represents the gold standard technique for diagnosing PCI and for evaluating its extension and complications providing data on other abdominal pathologies. It appears as variable diameter gas-filled cysts located within the bowel wall and it is often associated with pneumo-peritoneum probably due to the rupture of subserosal cysts. PCI has a favorable outcome and requires conservative treatment. Major differential diagnosis includes intestinal pneumatosis due to bowel ischemia. PCI after liver transplantation represents an uncommon bowel disease with a favorable prognosis. CT represents the reference imaging technique for diagnosing the disease and evaluating the response to therapy which is usually conservative rather than surgical.

  • KEY WORDS: Colon - Pneumatosis cystoides intestinalis - Liver transplantation - Computed tomography - CT.