Gastric Emphysema: A Cannot-Miss Emergency Medicine Diagnosis

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Abstract

The radiographic finding of gastric emphysema with portal venous gas is classically an ominous finding, associated with a high rate of mortality. Although classically the case, this imaging finding must be quickly correlated with the overall clinical picture, allowing for the essential differentiation between the highly lethal emphysematous gastritis and the much more benign gastric emphysema, each of which has drastically different management strategies. We report a case of gastric emphysema with portal venous gas likely attributable to a gastric outlet obstruction and gastric mucosal defect in a 17-year-old girl with a chief complaint of syncope that was diagnosed in the emergency department and treated conservatively.

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