Predictors of prognosis in children with portal venous gas detected by ultrasound

Takahiro Hosokawa, Yoshitake Yamada, Yutaka Tanami, Yumiko Sato, Mayumi Hosokawa, Eiji Oguma


Aims: To evaluate ultrasound findings in order to determine potential predictors of prognosis in pediatric patients with portal venous gas (PVG) detected by ultrasound.

Materials and methods: Thirty-nine children were included and divided into two groups: benign PVG (n=24) and life-threatening PVG (n=15; 6 surgical interventions and 9 deaths). Possible predictors, i.e., the location of PVG in the liver, the distribution of intestinal pneumatosis, ascites and free air were compared between the two groups.

Results: A significant difference was noted between the two groups in terms of the distribution of intestinal pneumatosis (limited to the large bowel, benign vs life-threatening = 60.9% (14/23):21.4% (3/14), p=0.040), the absence of ascites (benign vs life-threatening = 79.1% (19/24):40.0% (6/15), p=0.019) and patient age (benign vs life-threatening = 52.5±65.3 months vs 19.7±44.0 months, p=0.019). No significant difference was observed in the location of PVG in the liver, the presence of free air, and sex between the two groups.

Conclusions: In pediatric patients with PVG, including various ages and underlying diseases, intestinal pneumatosis limited to the large bowel and absence of ascites were predictors of a benign prognosis. However, despite the presence of these predictors, some patients with PVG required surgical intervention, thereby
suggesting that the cause of PVG, such as necrotizing enterocolitis, volvulus, or pancreatitis, must be also carefully evaluated.


portal venous gas; intestinal pneumatosis; ascites; ultrasound

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