Unrecognized vaginal intubation during the barium enema procedure with subsequent balloon inflation and contrast instillation is a potentially fatal complication of an otherwise common and routine procedure. We describe a patient who, while undergoing a routine barium enema, had misplacement of the enema catheter into the vagina, subsequent rupture of the superior/lateral vagina upon inflation of the catheter retention balloon, and injection of barium contrast into the retroperitoneum. The patient was admitted for surgical repair of the vaginal laceration and monitoring for chemical peritonitis; and was managed without exploratory laparotomy. We review the existing literature, summarize 18 reported cases from worldwide literature, detail potential complications and propose management and prevention strategies based on the mechanism of injury.
- Barium enema
- Vaginal perforation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging