Atypical presentation of inflammatory bowel disease in the elderly

Am J Gastroenterol. 1993 Dec;88(12):2098-101.


Despite multiple invasive diagnostic procedures including exploratory laparotomy and surgical resection, our patient's diagnosis remained an enigma. However, given the clinical scenario and the documented PG, a trial of steroids was warranted. The patient has fared well since her treatment, with resolution of all her symptoms. We feel confident that her disease process is most consistent with, and is most likely, Crohn's disease. There are several lessons to be learned from this case: 1) Inflammatory bowel disease can present at any age and belongs in a clinician's differential diagnosis of fever and diarrhea. 2) Failure to consider IBD in an elderly patient may lead to significant delay in diagnosis, and may expose the patient to unnecessary and sometimes dangerous intervention. 3) IBD in the elderly generally follows the same clinical patterns seen in younger patients. 4) Appropriate therapy can lead to prompt control or even resolution of the signs and symptoms of IBD.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Crohn Disease / complications
  • Crohn Disease / diagnosis*
  • Crohn Disease / pathology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intestines / pathology
  • Pyoderma Gangrenosum / complications
  • Pyoderma Gangrenosum / pathology