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07 August 2010

Intra-abdominal hypertension in fulminant Clostridium difficile infection – an under-recognized treatable complication

Lavi Oud

Med Sci Monit 2010; 16(9): CS110-113 :: ID: 881116


Background: Clostridium difficile is the most common cause of nosocomial infectious diarrhea in adults, with recent reports of increased severity and case fatality. Intra-abdominal hypertension (IAH) and abdominal compartment syndrome (ACS) are increasingly recognized and treatable complications of severe illness in medical patients, and are independent predictors of mortality. Patients with severe Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) are at increased risk for IAH and ACS. However, ACS has been only rarely described in this population.
Case Report: We report a case of a 61 year-old morbidly obese, chronically ill, ventilator dependent patient, who developed fulminant CDI, including progressive colonic distension, acute renal failure and intra-abdominal fluid sequestration. Her clinical course worsened abruptly, with new shock, worsening hypoxic respiratory failure, increased peak airway pressures and reduced tidal volumes. Intra-abdominal pressure was 30 mm Hg. The patient was not considered a surgical candidate, was refractory to escalating non-surgical support, and died following withdrawal of life support.
Conclusions: Although patients with fulminant CDI share many risk factors for IAH and ACS, these conditions were rarely reported in this population and are likely under recognized, as was the case with the present patient. Increased vigilance for IAH is needed in this at-risk population.

Keywords: Hypertension - therapy, Fatal Outcome, Clostridium Infections - therapy, Abdomen - pathology, Radiography, Abdominal

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Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750
Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750