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Imaging the abdomen in the critically ill 

Imaging the abdomen in the critically ill
Imaging the abdomen in the critically ill

Imran Khalid Niazi

and Navin Ramachandran

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date: 16 May 2022

Abdominal evaluation of the critically-ill patient is challenging. The patient may have a vague presentation, sometimes with a poor clinical history, few localizing signs, multiple co-morbidities and multi-organ involvement. Often the patient will require resuscitation prior to diagnostic work-up, and support devices such as mechanical ventilators and haemofilters may hamper assessment. Such unreliability of clinical indicators and the myriad of abdominal pathologies in a critically-ill patient may lead to diagnostic uncertainty with consequent delays in treatment. These challenges make imaging one of the most critical steps in the management of such patients. The optimal imaging pathway should be sensitive, specific, and minimize delay in therapy, but should also account for the patient’s clinical state and overall radiation dose. The modalities that have a role in abdominal evaluation of the critically ill are covered in this chapter.

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