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Postprandial Right Upper Quadrant Abdominal Pain

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A 53-year-old male patient presented to the emergency department following a primary care office visit with sudden onset right upper quadrant abdominal pain that persisted for 3 weeks, worsening over the last 2 days. The abdominal pain worsened after eating or drinking and mildly improved with omeprazole. Associated symptoms included intermittent fever, night sweats, fatigue, and bloating since onset without vomiting or diarrhea. He reported a “complicated” cholecystectomy at an outside facility 6 months prior and that his “gallbladder was adhered to his duodenum,” though outside records were not available. Additional medical history included diverticulosis with prior flares of diverticulitis but no recent flares or treatments. His home medications included acetaminophen, naproxen, intranasal fluticasone, omeprazole, gabapentin, baclofen, trazodone, and antihistamines. He reported no tobacco or illicit drug use and stated he consumed a 6 pack of beer every 6 weeks.

Initial vital signs in the emergency department demonstrated an afebrile oral temperature with unremarkable blood pressure and pulse. He was alert and oriented and did not appear in significant acute distress. Physical examination of the abdomen demonstrated a nondistended abdomen, normal active bowel sounds in all 4 quadrants, and mild right upper and lower quadrant tenderness to soft and deep palpation with release.

Significant laboratory values included elevated C-reactive protein of 44.1 mg/L and mild leukocytosis of 11.1 K/µL (reference range, 4.00-10.60 K/µL). The basic metabolic panel, liver-associated enzymes, and lipase levels were within normal limits.

Computed Tomography of the Abdomen

The initial imaging study was a computed tomography (CT) of the abdomen and pelvis with oral and IV contrast. The radiology report depicted a thin, needle-like hypodense foreign body approximately 8 cm in length in the proximal duodenum, slightly protruding extraluminally, and at least a moderate amount of surrounding inflammation without abscess or free air (Figure 1).

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