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Small Bowel Obstruction: Sensitivity and Specificity

Introduction: None written.

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Tags: Gastrointestinal Problem Tag this Diagnosis.

The sensitivity and specificity of findings for Small Bowel Obstruction are listed below. See the left navigation bar to change the display.

Sensitive and Specific Findings

Finding SensitivitySpecificity Comments, Study
CT Enteroclysis Edit 89%100%

Study: Radiology. 2007 Dec;245(3):661-71. PMID: 18024448

Enteroclysis Edit 100%88%

plain film enteroclysis

Study: Radiol Clin North Am. 2003 Mar;41(2):263-83, vi. PMID: 12659338

Elevated Serum Lactate Edit 90%87%

for ischemia

Study: Am J Surg 1994 Jun;167(6):575-8. PMID 8209931

Specific Findings

Finding SensitivitySpecificity Comments, Study
Abdominal US Edit 83%100%

Study: Acta Radiol 1999 Jul;40(4):422-8. PMID 10394872

Clinical diagnosis Edit 75%99%

Study: Scand J Gastroenterol. 1994 Aug;29(8):715-21 PMID: 7973431

History of Constipation Edit 43.8%95%

for SBO as final dx of abdominal pain

Study: Eur J Surg. 1998 Oct;164(10):777-84. PMID: 9840308

Abdominal Rigidity Edit 14.6%94.6%

for SBO as final dx of abdominal pain

Study: Eur J Surg. 1998 Oct;164(10):777-84. PMID: 9840308

Abdominal CT
Duplicate Edit
50%94%

Study: Radiology. 2007 Dec;245(3):661-71. PMID: 18024448

Relief of Pain by Vomiting Edit 27.1%93.7%

for SBO as final dx of abdominal pain

Study: Eur J Surg. 1998 Oct;164(10):777-84. PMID: 9840308

Abdominal Tenderness Edit 35.4%93.1%

for SBO as final diagnosis of abdominal pain

Study: Eur J Surg. 1998 Oct;164(10):777-84. PMID: 9840308

Decreased Bowel Sounds Edit 22.9%92.8%

for SBO as final dx of abdominal pain

Study: Eur J Surg. 1998 Oct;164(10):777-84. PMID: 9840308

Abdominal Mass Edit 18.8%91.4%

for SBO as final diagnosis of abdominal pain

Study: Eur J Surg. 1998 Oct;164(10):777-84. PMID: 9840308

Colicky Pain Edit 31.2%89.4%

for SBO as final dx of abdominal pain

Study: Eur J Surg. 1998 Oct;164(10):777-84. PMID: 9840308

Abdominal Distension Edit 62.5%89.2%

for SBO as final diagnosis of abdominal pain

Study: Eur J Surg. 1998 Oct;164(10):777-84. PMID: 9840308

Increased Bowel Sounds Edit 39.6%88.6%

Study: Eur J Surg. 1998 Oct;164(10):777-84. PMID: 9840308

Sensitive Findings

Finding SensitivitySpecificity Comments, Study
Abdominal CT
Duplicate Edit
88.1%77%

non-enhanced

Study: Eur J Radiol. 2009 Jul;71(1):135-40. PMID 18534800

Abdominal CT
Duplicate Edit
87.6%75%

with IV contrast

Study: Eur J Radiol. 2009 Jul;71(1):135-40. PMID 18534800

Poorly Diagnostic Findings

Finding SensitivitySpecificity Comments, Study
History of Abdominal Surgery Edit 68.8%74%

for SBO as final dx of abdominal pain

Study: Eur J Surg. 1998 Oct;164(10):777-84. PMID: 9840308

Age Edit 60.4%73.1%

for SBO as final dx of abdominal pain

Study: Eur J Surg. 1998 Oct;164(10):777-84. PMID: 9840308

Elevated D-dimer Edit 60%68%

for strangulated SBO

Study: Medicina (Kaunas). 2007;43(11):850-4. PMID: 18084141

Emesis Edit 75%65.3%

for SBO as final dx of abdominal pain

Emesis is more common in proximal small bowel obstruction than in distal small bowel obstruction

Study: Eur J Surg. 1998 Oct;164(10):777-84. PMID: 9840308

Abdominal X-Ray Edit 75%53%

many sources list sensitivity closer to 50%

Study: Am Surg. 1999 Oct;65(10):922-6. PMID: 10515535

Findings With Unspecified Accuracy

Finding SensitivitySpecificity Comments, Study
Elevated Serum Amylase Edit No accuracy specified.

Study: no study specified.

Fever Edit No accuracy specified.

Study: no study specified.

Tachycardia Edit No accuracy specified.

Study: no study specified.

Leukocytosis Edit No accuracy specified.

Study: no study specified.

UGI/SBFT Edit No accuracy specified.

An upper GI and small bowel follow-through can differentiate between mechanical obstruction and an ileus

Study: no study specified.