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Idiopathic Hepatic Portal Venous Gas in a Healthy Young Man

Authors Kim HJ, Kim HK

Received 10 August 2020

Accepted for publication 4 September 2020

Published 22 September 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 687—692


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Hong Jun Kim,1 Hong-Kyu Kim2

1Division of Hematology-Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, Kyung Hee University School of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea; 2Department of Surgery, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea

Correspondence: Hong-Kyu Kim
Department of Surgery, Seoul National University College of Medicine, 101, Daehak-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul 03080, Republic of Korea
Tel +82-2-958-8188

Background: Hepatic portal venous gas (HPVG) is a pathological condition characterized by gas in the portal venous system and its branches. The clinical manifestations of HPVG range from benign to life-threatening conditions. Here, we present a rare case of HPVG accompanied by free air in a healthy young patient without any suspicious etiology.
Case Presentation: A 28-year-old man without any specific medical history complained of sudden-onset dyspnea. On admission, his vital signs were stable, and the laboratory tests and physical examinations were within normal range. A plain chest and abdominal film revealed subphrenic free air and HPVG. Contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CT) showed extensive portal venous gas throughout the liver; however, there were no abnormal findings indicative of the etiology. Considering the stable vital signs and the lack of physical findings suggesting a surgical acute abdomen, the patient was managed conservatively. On admission day 3, the subphrenic free air and HPVG shown in the initial study had almost resolved, with no new symptoms. He was discharged on the fourth day after admission without any complications. Esophagogastroduodenoscopy, colonoscopy, and colonography protocol CT scan showed no significant abnormalities.
Conclusion: This case suggests that idiopathic HPVG could appear in healthy patients complaining only of vague symptoms. Initial conservative management could be considered if HPVG does not result from a life-threatening condition that needs immediate management, and if the patient is stable.

Keywords: hepatic portal venous gas, pneumoperitoneum, pneumoretroperitoneum, idiopathic

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