Abdominal CT 101

Primer on acute abdomen / emergency department CT

Full DICOM teaching cases

These DICOM teaching cases will expose you to essential diagnoses in abdominal CT and also help you learn the basics of using a DICOM viewer such as window/level, zoom/pan, and triangulation. Number keyboard shortcuts (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) work for window/level - try it out!

There are extensive study notes and annotations to guide you (click the light blue paper icon in the upper right corner).

These cases are an ideal primer for medical students and early residents. Be sure to review the annotated teaching case and videos under How to read CT to give yourself a foundation before diving into these cases.

I highly recommend that every radiology resident reviews How to read CT and all of these case before their first rotation on CT. You will be amazed at how quickly you jump into the service, impress your faculty, and have an extremely productive month.

Using the Pacsbin DICOM viewer

Click the blue paper icon

Opens study notes to guide you through the case

Click the "Key findings"

Text is linked to corresponding key images

Learn the toolbar

Window/level, pan/zoom, annotations, and change layout to review 2 planes side-by-side

Tips for smooth scrolling with a laptop:

  • Consider using an external mouse with middle scroll wheel

  • If using a trackpad select the "Stack Scroll" button (it is defaulted when you open the case), click with one finger (index) and scroll with a second (middle) for a smoother, slower scroll than with two fingers alone

Acute abdomen "Basics"

Complicating the "Basics"...

Perforated appendicitis

Perforated diverticulitis

Necrotizing pancreatitis

Closed loop obstruction

Other "must know" diagnoses




Epiploic appendagitis

Acute Gastrointestinal

Perforated duodenal ulcer

Gallstone ileus


Small bowel infarction

Infectious enterocolitis

Femoral hernia

Ischemic colitis

Sigmoid volvulus

New cancer diagnosis


Pseudomyxoma peritonei

Metastatic cancer

Malignant obstruction

Next step: Case collections

Explore numerous case sets to supplement your rotations!