The acute contrast enema in suspected large bowel obstruction: value and technique

Clinical Radiology
A H ChapmanG Porter


In order to determine the value of the acute contrast enema (ACE) as compared to the plain abdominal film for the diagnosis of colonic obstruction and to determine the optimal technique for performing this examination, we reviewed 140 cases performed over a 4 year period. The study shows that when provided with the case history and the plain abdominal films of patients referred for an ACE the diagnosis of colonic obstruction can be made with a sensitivity of 84% and a specificity of 72%, whereas the ACE has a sensitivity of 96% and a specificity of 98%. The ACE resulted in two false negatives, one false positive and one technical failure, analysis of which has enabled an optimal technique for the performance of this examination to be recommended.


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