Author(s): Scott AM, Myers GA, Harms BA
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Abstract PURPOSE: Medical management of severe ulcerative colitis has used cyclosporine with increasing frequency as an adjuvant to systemic steroids and mercaptopurine. However, the effects of combined management with cyclosporine and prednisone may lead to significant immune compromise and adversely affect operative morbidity in the event urgent surgery is required. METHODS: A case is reported of a 43-year-old white male who presented with severe ulcerative colitis. The patient had been initially treated with prednisone and cyclosporine for six weeks before surgical intervention. The intractability of his ulcerative colitis caused the patient to present to surgery, where he underwent restorative proctocolectomy. RESULTS: On initial presentation, the patient manifested systemic signs of severe ulcerative colitis with hypoalbuminemia, anemia, and weight loss, despite continuous prednisone and cyclosporine management. Before surgical intervention, a chest x-ray and the patient's respiratory status were normal. A total abdominal colectomy with ileal pouch reconstruction and temporary loop ileostomy were performed without incident. On the fifth postoperative day, the patient developed respiratory failure, which was subsequently diagnosed as Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia. Although ventilator support and both aggressive medical and surgical management eventually resulted in successful outcome, significant perioperative morbidity occurred. CONCLUSIONS: In the era of aggressive medical management for ulcerative colitis with both steroids and cyclosporine, the complications of immunosuppression may be significant, including opportunistic pneumonia. Prophylaxis against P. carinii pneumonia with sulfa antibiotics should be considered, especially in patients for whom proctocolectomy is a potential end point.
This article was published in Dis Colon Rectum
and referenced in Journal of Gastrointestinal & Digestive System