Barium appendicitis: Fact or fancy?: Report of a case and review of the literature

Natan Cohen, David Modai, Ada Rosen, Ahuva Golik, Joshua Weissgarten

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19 Scopus citations


Whether barium retained in the appendix can be a cause of acute appendicitis is debatable. We describe a 40-year-old man who developed nonspecific right abdominal pain 7 weeks after a barium enema, which proved to be normal. On abdominal film a distended appendix containing barium was seen, and at laparotomy acute appendicitis was present. Thus far, 26 cases of “barium appendicitis” have been reported. On the basis of the relevant literature and the cases collected, it is appropriate to draw the following conclusions: 1) With present knowledge it is not possible to state whether retained barium plays any etiologic role in the development of subsequent uncomplicated acute appendicitis. 2) If a later appendicitis does supervene, it carries a high risk of being complicated; barium seems to be responsible for the complication. 3) The longer the interval between the barium study and the subsequent appearance of acute appendicitis, the higher will be the risk of complications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-451
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Gastroenterology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1987
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute appendicitis
  • Barium enema
  • Upper gastrointestinal series (barium examination)


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