Toxic megacolon complicating pseudomembranous enterocolitis

Diseases of the Colon and Rectum
J L TrudelA N Barkun


Toxic megacolon is a rare complication of pseudomembranous enterocolitis. We reviewed our recent experience with this complication. The first five patients of the series were studied retrospectively, and six others were followed prospectively. Between June 1992 and May 1994, 11 patients (8 male, 3 female) developed toxic megacolon secondary to pseudomembranous enterocolitis. Mean age was 60.7 +/- 11.8 (range, 40-79) years. Presenting symptoms and signs included diarrhea, 100 percent; malaise, 91 percent; abdominal pain, 82 percent; abdominal distention, 82 percent; abdominal tenderness, 72 percent; anemia less than 12 gm, 72 percent; albumin less than 3 gm, 64 percent; tachycardia greater than 100, 55 percent; fever greater than 38.5 degrees celsius, 45 percent; shock or hypotension, 45 percent. Predisposing factors included antibiotics, 64 percent; immunosuppressants or chemotherapy, 36 percent; antidiarrheals, 27 percent; and barium enema in one patient. Five patients (45 percent) had more than one predisposing factor. X-rays showed transverse colon dilation and loss of haustrations in eight patients (72 percent), with a mean diameter of 9.9 +/- 3.4 cm. Flexible proctosigmoidoscopy showed pseudomembranes in all scoped patient...Continue Reading


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