Acute Abdomen Secondary to Ascaris lumbricoides Infestation of the Small Bowel

Schulze, Scott M.; Chokshi, R. J.; Edavettal, M.; Tarasov, E.
June 2005
American Surgeon;Jun2005, Vol. 71 Issue 6, p505
Academic Journal
Ascariasis is a helminthic infection commonly found in tropical climates. It often propagates in communities of low socioeconomic status secondary to contamination of the soil and water supply with human feces. We present a case report of a 42-year-old Asian-Indian female presenting with a long-standing history of severe recurrent postprandial epigastric pain, requiring multiple hospital admissions. Ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), and nuclear biliary scan were negative. She underwent esophagogastroduodenoscopy that suggested ischemia. Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) and mesenteric angiography were inconclusive. As conservative treatment had been unsuccessful, a small bowel series was performed. The radiographs demonstrated characteristic findings of Ascaris lumbricoides infestation. Although the prevalence, diagnosis, and subsequent treatment of an acute abdomen secondary to Ascaris lumbricoides infestation is commonly seen in developing countries, clinicians in developed countries may not consider this entity when faced with a patient with similar symptoms. We frequently care for immigrants from developing countries and our own citizens who visit the countries where ascariasis is endemic. Therefore, heightened awareness of Ascaris lumbricoides infection (ALI) presenting as an acute abdomen is necessary. The diagnosis requires an experienced radiologist and knowledge by the clinician of treatment options and of when a surgeon should be involved.


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