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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013, Article ID 469297, 8 pages
Research Article

Compression of the Inferior Vena Cava in Bowel Obstruction

1Department of Bioimaging and Radiological Sciences, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, 00168 Rome, Italy
2Institute of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, 00168 Rome, Italy

Received 30 April 2013; Revised 15 July 2013; Accepted 28 July 2013

Academic Editor: Daniel A. Reuter

Copyright © 2013 Alessandro Cina et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Introduction. We investigated whether (a) the inferior vena cava (IVC) is compressed in bowel obstruction and (b) some tracts are more compressed than others. Methods. Two groups of abdominal computed tomography (CT) examinations were collected retrospectively. Group O ( ) scans were positive for bowel obstruction, group C ( ) scans were negative for diseases. IVC anteroposterior and lateral diameters (APD, LAD) were assessed at seven levels. Results. In group C, IVC section had an elliptic shape (APD/LAD: .76 ± .14), the area of which increased gradually from 1.9 (confluence of the iliac veins) to 3.1 cm2/m2 of BSA (confluence of the hepatic veins) with a significant narrowing in the hepatic section. In group O, bowel obstruction caused a compression of IVC (APD/LAD: .54 ± .17). Along its course, IVC section area increased from 1.3 to 2.5 cm2/m2. At ROC curve analysis, an APD/LAD ratio lower than 0.63 above the confluence of the iliac veins discriminated between O and C groups with sensitivity of 74% and specificity of 96%. Conclusions. Bowel obstruction caused a compression of IVC, which involved its entire course except for the terminal section. APD/LAD ratio may be useful to monitor the degree of compression.