Pneumatosis cystoides intestinalis – an incidental finding with unpredictable evolution

Pneumatose cistoide intestinal – um achado incidental com evoluc¸ão imprevisível

Marisa D. Santos Cláudio Silva Ana Cristina Silva Marta Salgado Manuela França About the authors


Pneumatosis cystoides intestinalis is an uncommon disease with unknown etiology characterized by the presence of multiple gas-filled cysts within the submucosa or subserosa of the intestinal wall. Pneumoperitoneum and/or intestinal perforation are complications that may be associated with pneumatosis cystoides intestinalis. The patients are often prone to misdiagnosis or mistreatment.We are presenting a case of pneumatosis cystoides intestinalis in a 42 year-old woman affected by peritoneal free air and numerous, diffuse, bubble-like intramural gas collections into the jejunum and ileum, showed in CT-enterography images. The woman had a carcinoid tumor located in jejunum two years ago, treated with enterectomy. Recent complaints of nonspecific symptoms of abdominal discomfort and diarrhea motivated the realization of CT scan, serum chromogranin and urine 5-hidroxindolacetic acid for hypothesis of tumor carcinoid recurrence withdraw. The only change found was the presence of pneumatosis cystoides intestinalis in CT-enterography images without intestinal necrosis, bleeding or evident obstruction. For that reason no surgical procedure was realized and the patient stayed on surveillance. Actually, the patient complaints are sporadic abdominal discomfort, without pneumatosis cystoides intestinalis clinical evidence.


The treatment plan of patient with PCI depends on underlying cause and clinical condition severity. When conservative treatment is adopted the clinical evolution of pneumatosis cystoides intestinalis is unpredictable and can even disappear in an indeterminate number of patients.

Pneumatosis cystoides intestinalis; Pneumoperitoneum; Bowel dilatation; Intestinal cysts; Extra-luminal gas

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