What happened to Ariel Sharon?
Although none of the editors of this website have any direct clinical care of Ariel Sharon, his situation is sadly all too familiar to most surgeons. News services are relating that he had about 20 inches of his colon removed today and very likely a colostomy after a CT scan showed “disease”. What happened?
Most likely the CT scan showed one of three things that tipped surgeons off to a problem:
1) “free air” in the abdominal cavity indicating a perforated structure as the abdominal cavity normally has no air; it is all inside the bowel.
2) air in the wall of the intestine (the technical term is pneumotosis intestinalis); again this is abnormal and highly suggestive of dead or ischemic bowel.
3) greatly enlarged loops of bowel; this occurs when the colon twists on itself (the technical term is volvulus).
Other indications that surgeons use when trying to figure out if the bowel is diseased are a new fever, a lower pH, an increased weight blood cell count, an increased level of lactate, and hypotension.
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