Large bowel obstruction is a condition that leads to a blockage in a specific region of the colon, thus preventing the normal movement of stool and gas. It may lead to complications such as ischemia, necrosis, and peritonitis.
A large bowel obstruction (LBO) can involve a blockage of the whole or part of the colonic lumen. Firstly, if the obstruction is complete, the patient presents with acute and profound symptomatology; in a partial large bowel obstruction the symptoms are milder and it is not a threatening condition.
A patient affected by partial large bowel obstruction presents with a medical history of constipation, but and reports the passing of a reduced amount of gas as well as stool. In a complete large bowel obstruction, the main symptoms are usually characteristic, with the individuals complaining of abdominal pain and distention, complete inability to pass fecal matter and gas, and vomiting   . Patients who report with severe abdominal pain, rigidity, guarding, fever and signs of shock, with a medical history of constipation and distention should be treated immediately, as a large bowel obstruction can likely evolve into a perforation and subsequent peritonitis.
Other findings that may also be noticed are usually not caused by LBO itself, but by the underlying pathology. Intermittent left-lower-quadrant pain in the abdomen over a long period of time and generally recurring constipation may be caused by diverticulitis. This sign together with colorectal cancer and volvulus forms the three primary causes of LBO . Weight loss may be reported by individuals who are affected by colorectal cancer.
The diagnosis of large bowel obstruction is made primarily via the use of imaging modalities, as well as laboratory tests that do not exactly serve the diagnostic purposes but help to comprehensively evaluate the patient's status. The elimination of ileus as a possible alternative diagnosis is also carried out via laboratory tests.
Blood tests involve:
Imaging modalities include the following: