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Visible Peristalsis

August 18th, 2017


  • 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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