Gasless Abdomen in the Adult: What Does It Mean?

Authors: William M. Thompson1

1 Department of Radiology, Duke University Medical Center, Box 3808, Durham, NC 27710.


The objective of this article is to illustrate the causes of a gasless abdomen in an adult.


The gasless abdomen in the adult is often interpreted as nonspecific, which does not provide useful information for the patient's physician. There are at least six causes of the gasless abdomen in the adult. A specific cause of the gasless abdomen can usually be made when the patient's history is known. The most serious cause of the gasless abdomen is small-bowel obstruction with or without ischemia.