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Appendiceal fat stranding on CT: a red herring in a post-caesarean section woman with Ogilvie’s syndrome (OS)
  1. Kay Tai Choy and
  2. Heng-Chin Chiam
  1. Department of Surgery, Cairns Hospital, Cairns North, Queensland, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kay Tai Choy, kaytai.choy{at}


A 30-year-old woman was referred for a surgical review with abdominal pain and distension 2 days post-caesearean section. Abdominal X-ray showed dilated bowel loops. CT of her abdomen however showed fat stranding around a thickened appendix, suggesting a differential diagnosis of acute appendicitis on top of a postoperative ileus. Failure to respond to intravenous antibiotics led to an emergent surgical exploratory laparotomy, by which time the progressive caecal dilatation had led to patchy necrosis and perforation of the right hemicolon intra-operatively. The patient required a right hemicolectomy and histological examination of the excised bowel supported the diagnosis of Ogilvie’s syndrome. This case highlights the red herrings that one can encounter when faced with a woman with post-caesarean section abdominal pain and aims to raise awareness among clinicians of this condition—where timely diagnosis and management is key.

  • pregnancy
  • general surgery

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  • Contributors KTC and H-CC were involved in the care of this patient. KTC performed the literature review and drafted the manuscript while H-CC provided overall supervision.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.