Conservative Management of Pneumatosis Intestinalis and Portal Venous Gas After Pediatric Liver Transplantation.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2020.01.010


BACKGROUND: Pneumatosis intestinalis (PI) is a rare pathologic finding in pediatric liver transplant (PLT) recipients. The presentation and course of PI can range from asymptomatic and clinically benign to life threatening, with no consensus regarding management of PI in children. We aim to review the clinical presentation and radiologic features of PLT recipients with PI and to report the results of conservative management.

METHODS: A retrospective medical chart review was conducted on PLT recipients between November 1995 and May 2016. Parameters evaluated at PI diagnosis included pneumatosis location, presence of free air or portal venous gas (PVG), symptoms, laboratory findings, and medication regimen.

RESULTS: PI developed in 10 of 130 PLT patients (7.7%) between 8 days and 7 years (median: 113 days) posttransplant. Five of the patients were male, and the median age was 2 years (range, 1-17 years). PI was located in 1 to 2 abdominal quadrants in 6 patients, and 3 patients had PVG. At diagnosis, all patients were on steroids and immunosuppressant medication and 6 patients had a concurrent infection. Laboratory findings were unremarkable. Symptoms were present in 7 patients. Nine patients were managed conservatively, and 1 patient received observation only. All patients had resolution of PI at a median of 7 days (range, 2-14 days).

CONCLUSIONS: PI can occur at any time after PLT and appears to be associated with steroid use and infectious agents. If PI/PVG is identified and the patient is clinically stable, initiation of a standard management algorithm may help treat these patients conservatively, thus avoiding surgical intervention.

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Transplantation proceedings





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