Abdominal imaging manifestations of recreational drug use

Joseph Mansour, Maria Zulfiqar, Affan Umer, Kenneth S. Zurcher, Allen Heeger, Christine O. Menias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Recreational drug use is a burgeoning health issue worldwide, with a variety of presenting symptoms and complications. These complications can be secondary to the toxic effects of the drug itself, drug impurities, and nonsterile injection. The abdominal radiologist is likely to encounter patients who use drugs recreationally and may be responsible for recognizing and reporting these acute conditions, which in some cases can be life threatening. Because these patients often present with an altered mental state and may deny or with-hold information on drug use, the underlying cause may be difficult to determine. The most commonly used drugs worldwide include cocaine, cannabinoids, opioids, and amphetamines and their de-rivatives. Complications of use of these drugs that can be seen at abdominopelvic CT can involve multiple organ systems, including the soft tissue and gastrointestinal, genitourinary, vascular, and musculoskeletal systems. A diverse range of abdominal complications associated with these drugs can be seen at imaging, including disseminated infections, gastrointestinal ischemia, and visceral in-farction. Radiologists should be familiar with the imaging findings of these complications to accurately diagnose these entities and help guide workup and patient treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1895-1915
Number of pages21
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


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