CT evaluation of the acute abdomen: Bowel pathology spectrum of disease

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


CT has become the primary imaging modality for the evaluation of the patient with clinical symptoms of an acute abdomen and a confusing clinical picture. Because these patients may have a range of various pathologies, CT has been used successfully to define the presence of disease and localize it to a specific organ or organ system. In this article, we review the various processes that resulted in acute abdomen focusing on the small bowel and colon. Specific entities discussed include appendicitis, diverticulitis, Crohn disease, and ulcerative colitis. Other less common processes, including pseudomembranous colitis, intussusception, and bowel ischemia are also discussed. The specific role of CT scanning and specific CT signs are discussed and addressed. The value of CT in relationship to other modalities and clinical evaluation is discussed and key statistics provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-190
Number of pages28
JournalCritical reviews in diagnostic imaging
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 18 1996



  • GI tract
  • computed tomography
  • computed tomography colitis
  • diverticulitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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