Colonic ‘gas blast’ rattles Swedish operating room

A Swedish health clinic has been reported after a routine bowel procedure was interrupted by what was described as a “powerful blast” likely caused by a build up of methane gas in the patient's intestines.

Colonic 'gas blast' rattles Swedish operating room

The incident took place in August at a clinic in Motala in central Sweden in connection with a procedure to remove a polyp from the intestine of a man in his mid-sixties.

After the growth had been removed, doctors began to perform an electrocautery, a procedure in which the edges around where the polyp was located were burned to prevent any bleeding and to ensure the growth was fully removed.

“Suddenly, there was a powerful blast in the room and the patient felt pain in his stomach,” doctors wrote in their report of the incident.

“The patient turned pale and his head began to nod.”

The procedure was halted immediately, and a subsequent x-ray examination revealed small gas bubbles had built up in the fatty tissues at the base of his large intestine.

The startled doctors also contacted the supplier of the equipment used in the procedure, and were told that the explosion was likely caused by a rare complication stemming from a buildup of methane gas in the intestine.

After staying in hospital overnight for observation, the patient was released the following day without any further complications from the blast of colonic gas.

In hopes of avoiding a repeat of the incident during future procedures, doctors plan to use carbon dioxide rather than regular air in order to “avoid the risk of an explosion due to methane gas”.

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