Sonographic and Clinical Features of Typhlitis in Pediatric Cancer Patients on Chemotheaphy at Tikur Anbessa Specialized Hospital, Ethiopia, 2021

Ethiop J Health Sci. 2022 Oct;32(Spec Iss 1):27-32. doi: 10.4314/ejhs.v32i1.5S.


Background: Typhlitis, (neutropenic enterocolitis), is a necrotizing enteropathy of the right colon, and is characterized by the clinical triad of fever, abdominal pain, neutropenia and imaging findings of right-side colonic inflammation. It is seen in the setting of severe neutropenia in immune suppressed patients who undergo treatment for malignancies, in those who have organ transplant(s) or congenital or other acquired immunosuppression. We report the clinical and imaging findings of typhlitis in pediatric cancer patients who had received chemotherapy in the largest tertiary center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia over a period of 20 months.

Methods: The medical records of hospitalized cancer patients on treatment and with suspected typhlitis and with ultrasound reports were screened (November 2018- July 2020). Retrospective analysis of the clinical and sonographic data of those with typhlitis was done.

Results: Typhlitis was identified in 4.2% (12/286) of the patients on chemotherapy. 11 (91.7%) had hematologic malignancies (leukemia, lymphoma), one had a solid tumor (Head and neck embryonal RMS). Most (83.3%) had abdominal pain, diarrhea and neutropenia. Fever was identified in 67.7%. All had ultrasound evidence of typhlitis. and treated with IV antibiotics. Neither complications requiring surgical intervention nor death were seen.

Conclusion: The magnitude of disease was comparable to what had previously been reported in other studies. While the presence of clinical a triad should prompt suspicion for the diagnosis, sonography can be used for confirmation and follow up obviating radiation, with good access in a resource limited setting.

Keywords: Typhlitis; chemotherapy; pediatric malignancy; ultrasound imaging.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / etiology
  • Child
  • Ethiopia
  • Fever / etiology
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms* / complications
  • Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Neutropenia* / complications
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Typhlitis* / diagnostic imaging
  • Typhlitis* / etiology