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Gastric dilatation (acute)

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

Acute gastric dilatation may be caused by:

  • hyperglycaemia
  • childbirth
  • abdominal injury
  • application of a spinal cast
  • rarely, after abdominal surgery when the stomach is in ileus and drink has been taken too soon

The abdomen is distended and tender. The patient complains of epigastric fullness, nausea, heaviness and heartburn. There is a succussion splash.

The accumulation of fluid in the stomach may induce hypovolaemic shock. Reflux of gastric contents may cause an aspiration pneumonia.

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