Prolonged ileus as a sole manifestation of pseudomembranous enterocolitis

Eran Elinav*, David Planer, Moshe E. Gatt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: Pseudomembranous colitis usually manifests as fever and diarrhea in hospitalized patients treated with systemic antibiotics. We present a case that represents a unique variant. Case presentation: The 44-year-old man suffered of several weeks of abdominal pain, low-grade fever, nausea, vomiting, and lack of bowel movements. Upper gastrointestinal barium swallow and passage series revealed evidence of severe intestinal hypomotility. A thorough evaluation for the cause of the patient's ileus and abdominal pain was unrevealing, and symptomatic treatment was ineffective. Following the administration of opiates and dietary fiber supplementation the patient's abdominal pain and distention rapidly worsened, requiring an urgent subtotal colectomy. The macroscopic and microscopic appearance of the excised colon as well as results of the colonic cytotoxin essay and fecal enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay essay confirmed the diagnosis of severe Clostridium difficile induced pseudomembranous colitis as the cause of the patient's illness. Conclusion: To our knowledge, this is the first reported case of Clostridium-difficile induced disease consisting of prolonged ileus in the absence of diarrhea in a patient not previously taking antibiotics.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)273-276
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Colorectal Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Clostridium difficile
  • Ileus
  • Pseudo-obstruction
  • Pseudomembranous enterocolitis


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