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Visible Peristalsis



    • Look For

    • Waves of movement across the abdomen, often starting in the left upper quadrant and moving toward the right lower quadrant.
    • Significance

    • Mechanical intestinal obstruction.
    • Causes of Visible Peristalsis

    • Hernia
    • Diverticular disease
    • Tumour - colorectal, lymphoma
    • Adhesions - congenital, surgery, inflammation
    • Strictures - Crohn’s, surgery, radiotherapy
    • Foreign body - swallowed material, bezoar, parasite
    • Intussusception
    • Volvulus
  • Non-mechanical causes of obstruction such as paralytic ileus and Ogilvie's syndrome will not result in visible peristalsis as gut motility is reduced.
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