Sudden Onset of Lower Abdominal Pain Without Peritonitis or Ileus
KeywordsGas-gangrene, Clostridium septicum, acute abdominal pain.
A patient presented with sudden, unexplained lower abdominal pain without peritonism or signs of infection or inflammatory reaction, but with recent bloody stools and a history of radiation therapy, diabetes and immunosuppression. Plain abdominal x-ray showed only air-fluid levels and air distention of the colon, but a later abdominal CT scan revealed extensive gas gangrene of the colon. The patient’s clinical status rapidly worsened. Elective surgical rectosigmoid debridement did not prevent the patient’s death. In conclusion, the diagnosis of ‘spontaneous’ life-threatening gas gangrene requires a high degree of clinical suspicion and allows life-saving surgical intervention.
Issue: Vol. 3 No. 7 (view)