Gallstone ileus an unusual reason for right iliac fossa pain in Crohn's disease: a case report
© Qureshi et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2009
Received: 5 February 2009
Accepted: 4 December 2009
Published: 4 December 2009
The symptoms of Crohn's disease can vary significantly among afflicted individuals. It is a chronic inflammatory disease, which has many complications involving gastrointestinal and other symptoms. The diagnosis of gallstone ileus is difficult in Crohn's disease and an early diagnosis can reduce mortality. We present a case of 72 year old female with known Crohn's disease with acute right iliac fossa pain. She was investigated with an abdominal CT, giving a definite diagnosis of gallstone ileus.
Crohn's disease is an inflammatory disease, which may effect any part of the digestive system. The main symptoms are abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting and weight loss. Abdominal pain may be an initial symptom of Crohn's disease.
Ileocolic Crohn's disease effects the ileum and large intestine accounts of 50 percent of the cases . Gallstone ileus is a rare complication of Crohn's disease. It accounts for 1-4% of all bowel obstructions. Gallstone ileus should always be in the differential diagnosis, when elderly patients are assessed for abdominal pain.
We present a case of 74-year-old Caucasian women complaining of colicky abdominal pain on admission. She reported acute onset of right iliac fossa pain for 24 hours with associated vomiting but no other associated bowel symptoms. She reported past medical history of hypertension, recent myocardial infarction and Crohn's disease in remission. Her Crohn's was under remission for last ten years without any current treatment. There was no previous history of abdominal surgery. She was non smoker and drank alcohol socially. She was taking no regular medications.
She was treated with conservative measures including pain relief and intravenous fluid rehydration. An exploratory supraumbilical laprotomy was performed which revealed impacted gall stone just proximal to the ileocolic junction. She achieved an uneventful recovery and discharged after 5 days of her surgery.
Crohn's disease is chronic bowel disease, which can lead to several mechanical complications within the intestine. Obstruction typically occurs with strictures and adhesions. The increased prevalence of gall stones in Crohn's disease is thought to be related to depletion of bile salt pool due to terminal ileal disease . Gallstone ileus is a common surgical emergency in older females. It presents during acute medical takes and a delay in achieving diagnosis is not uncommon. If it is left untreated it leads to increased mortality. A high index of suspicion in older patients with intermittent gastrointestinal symptoms should trigger appropriate sensitive investigation like computed tomography of the abdomen.
Written informed consent was obtained from the patient for publication of this case report and accompanying images. A copy of the written consent is available for review by the Editor-in-Chief of this journal.
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