What Causes a Perforated Viscus?

A perforated viscus is caused by perforated peptic ulcers, colon ischamia, colon diverticulitis, colon cancer, stomach perforations and possibly injuries beneath the nipples, states Dr. Jason Smith, who is a colorectal surgeon. Perforations are holes that appear in the digestive tract and can be deadly due to internal bleeding or peritonitis infections that can develop, according to WebMD.

It is also possible for a person to swallow an object that punctures the viscus and causes perforation.

A person who believes that he or she has a perforated viscus or who is showing signs such as abdominal pain, vomiting, shock or has a stiff body, should see a doctor immediately. A doctor will then take a thorough history and look for problems such as Crohns, cancer and peptic ulcer disease. Then the doctor will perform an abdominal examination to help make a diagnosis.

Treatment for a perforated viscus involves fluids, antibiotics, tubes or catheters to empty the stomach and a laparotomy. Surgery may also be involved. After treatment, patients and doctors will need to watch out for possible wound infections, chest infections, septic shock, organ failure, renal failure and abdominal abscesses. The patient will most likely be kept in hospital care for several days or longer after initial treatment.