Minerva gastroenterologica e dietologica

Pneumatosis coli induced by acarbose administration for diabetes mellitus. Case report and literature review.

PMID 16971879


The authors report a case report of rare disease interesting the digestive tract and often associated to the other gastrointestinal pathologies and/or pulmonary diseases and can be also associated to not gastrointestinal conditions such as collagen-vascular disease, transplantation, AIDS, use of corticosteroid and chemotherapy; other causes can be iatrogenic such as traumatic gastrointestinal endoscopy (a mucoses biopsy, a polipectomy) or the assumption of lattulosio; in 15-20% of cases the pneumatosis cystoides intestinalis is considered primitive. In the our case the Pneumatosis coli was associated to administration of acarbose; in international literature only four papers in the English language were reported. Our patient showed a strongly aspecific symptomatology and easily attributable in first line or to the pathology of base (diabetic patient) or to the assumption of the acarbose; from about 7-8 months she showed unexplained episodes of crampy abdominal pain, diarrhea with 3-4 defecations/die with semiliquid and normochromic stools, tenesmus and a not better specified loss of weight. The diagnosis was been performed by colonoscopy and confirmed by abdominal CT scan with water enema and histologically; we have used the traditional radiology only to exclude the involvement of other gastroenteric districts. The patient was been treated with O2-therapy associated to antibiotics treatment; the suspension of the causal factor, the acarbose, has been of not secondary importance; the complete resolution of disease was obtained after 15 days of therapy.