Pseudomembranous Colitis: Clinical, Endoscopic and Radiological Correlation - A 2 - Year Experience
Fabiana Benjaminov MD(1), Rivka Zissin MD(2), Benjamin Novis MD(1)
(1)Gastroenterology Institute and (2)CT Unit, Meir Hospital, Sapir Medical Center, Kfar-Saba, affiliated to the Sackler School of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel
Abstract: The incidence rates of pseudomembranous colitis are rising. Early diagnosis and treatment are required for management of this potentially life-threatening disease. This report outlines our 2-year experience (1997-1998) at the gastrointestinal institute with 43 patients diagnosed with pseudomembranous colitis and describes the clinical course and imaging studies.
The group consisted of 25 women and 18 men, aged 34-93 years (mean: 67). Thirty-nine patients were treated with antibiotics. Twelve patients were referred directly to an endoscopic examination with a presumed clinical diagnosis of pseudomembranous colitis (diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain) that was confirmed by colonoscopy. Thirty-one were referred to colonoscopy following abdominal imaging performed to clarify cause of fever and abdominal pain. Twenty-nine patients had an abdominal CT, one had an US and one a barium follow-through. The CT finding suggesting pseudomembranous colitis included colonic mural thickening in 28 patients (71% diffuse versus 29% segmental colitis), with an average wall thickness of 16 mm. Sixteen patients (59%) had pericolonic fat changes and 15 patients (51%) had ascites. All of these patients, except one, had endoscopic findings consistent with pseudomembranous colitis.
Five patients (11.6 %) died due to the severe PMC.
To conclude, as an abdominal CT is often performed in the acutely ill patient, it may arouse the diagnosis of pseudomembranous colitis in the proper clinical setting. Such a suspected diagnosis justifies endoscopic evaluation, which is the most reliable diagnostic examination.