Rare cause of man’s ‘coffee bean’ stomach

·News Reporter
·2-min read

A man has been hospitalised with what doctors described as a “coffee bean sign” bowel obstruction.

The man, 87, from Japan, complained of abdominal distension and pain for about half a day, according to his case in The American Journal of Medicine.

“On physical examination, two distended ridges running parallel from upper right to lower left were seen in the abdomen,” researchers wrote.

“This pattern of distension looked like radiological ‘coffee bean sign’.”

A 'coffee bean sign' seen in a CT scan of a man with sigmoid volvulus.
An 87-year-old man with a 'coffee bean sign' in his abdomen. Source: The American Journal of Medicine

A rare cause of bowel obstruction

A CT scan confirmed doctors’ theory he had sigmoid volvulus which is a type of bowel obstruction.

According to the Journal of Eurasian Medicine, sigmoid volvulus occurs when the sigmoid colon wraps itself around its mesentery. The mesentery is the organ connecting the intestines to the posterior abdominal wall.

It is considered to be a rare cause of bowel obstruction.

Doctors managed to fix the man’s problem with an endoscopy. An endoscopy is performed with a long tube known as an endoscope which allows doctors to look inside the body. It is normally inserted via the mouth, urethra or anus.

They also noted the man’s case showed an example of how simply looking at a patient’s condition, in this instance the “coffee bean sign”, can help diagnose the problem.

"Visual inspection is one of the most routinely forgotten physical examination techniques," researchers wrote.

“This case underscores the importance of visual inspection of the abdomen, which is easy to perform and can save time and cost."

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