Neutropenic enterocolitis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Neutropenic enterocolitis
Other namesTyphlitis, typhlenteritis, caecitis, cecitis
Stomach colon rectum diagram-en.svg
SpecialtyGeneral surgery

Neutropenic enterocolitis is inflammation of the cecum (part of the large intestine) that may be associated with infection.[1] It is particularly associated with neutropenia, a low level of neutrophil granulocytes (the most common form of white blood cells) in the blood.

Signs and symptoms[edit]

Signs and symptoms of typhlitis may include diarrhea, a distended abdomen, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain or tenderness.[2]


The condition is usually caused by Gram-positive enteric commensal bacteria of the gut (gut flora). Clostridium difficile is a species of Gram-positive bacteria that commonly causes severe diarrhea and other intestinal diseases when competing bacteria are wiped out by antibiotics, causing pseudomembranous colitis, whereas Clostridium septicum is responsible for most cases of neutropenic enterocolitis.[3]

Typhlitis most commonly occurs in immunocompromised patients, such as those undergoing chemotherapy,[4] patients with AIDS, kidney transplant patients, or the elderly.[2]


Typhlitis is diagnosed with a radiograph CT scan showing thickening of the cecum and "fat stranding".[citation needed]


Typhlitis is a medical emergency and requires prompt management. Untreated typhlitis has a poor prognosis, particularly if associated with pneumatosis intestinalis (air in the bowel wall) and/or bowel perforation, and has significant morbidity unless promptly recognized and aggressively treated.[4]

Successful treatment hinges on:[citation needed]

  1. Early diagnosis provided by a high index of suspicion and the use of CT scanning
  2. Nonoperative treatment for uncomplicated cases
  3. Empiric antibiotics, particularly if the patient is neutropenic or at other risk of infection.

In rare cases of prolonged neutropenia and complications such as bowel perforation, neutrophil transfusions can be considered but have not been studied in a randomized control trial. Elective right hemicolectomy may be used to prevent recurrence but is generally not recommended[citation needed]

"...The authors have found nonoperative treatment highly effective in patients who do not manifest signs of peritonitis, perforation, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, or clinical deterioration. Recurrent typhlitis was frequent after conservative therapy (recurrence rate, 67 percent), however," as based on studies from the 1980s[4]


Inflammation can spread to other parts of the gut in patients with typhlitis.[citation needed] The condition can also cause the cecum to become distended and can cut off its blood supply. This and other factors can result in necrosis and perforation of the bowel, which can cause peritonitis and sepsis.[5]

Historically, the mortality rate for typhlitis was as high as 50%, mostly because it is frequently associated with bowel perforation.[2] More recent studies have demonstrated better outcomes with prompt medical management, generally with resolution of symptoms with neutrophil recovery without death [6] .

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Definition at
  2. ^ a b c Stoer TM, Koslin DB (2004). "Typhlitis Imaging". Medscape. WebMD LLC. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  3. ^ King A, Rampling A, Wight DG, Warren RE (1984). "Neutropenic enterocolitis due to Clostridium septicum infection". J Clin Pathol. 37 (3): 335–43. doi:10.1136/jcp.37.3.335. PMC 498711. PMID 6699196.
  4. ^ a b c Keidan RD, Fanning J, Gatenby RA, Weese JL (Mar 1989). "Recurrent typhlitis. A disease resulting from aggressive chemotherapy". Dis Colon Rectum. 32 (3): 206–9. doi:10.1007/BF02554529. PMID 2920627.
  5. ^ Boggio L, Pooley R, Winter JN (February 2000). "Typhlitis complicating autologous blood stem cell transplantation for breast cancer". Nature. Macmillan Publishers Limited. 25 (3): 321–6. doi:10.1038/sj.bmt.1702134. PMID 10673706.
  6. ^ Shafey, A; et al. (October 2013). "Incidence, risk factors, and outcomes of enteritis, typhlitis, and colitis in children with acute leukemia". J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 35 (7): 514–7. doi:10.1097/MPH.0b013e31829f3259. PMID 23823116.

External links[edit]