Acute colitis following colonoscopy

Endoscopy. 1998 May;30(4):428-31. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-1001296.


Colitis following colonoscopy is an acute, self-limited condition characterized by tenesmus and bloody diarrhea appearing within 48 hours of colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy. Glutaraldehyde used for disinfection of the endoscopes is considered to be the main etiological agent. Three cases of severe acute self-limited colitis are described in this report. All three were observed within one week, and showed the typical anamnestic, clinical, endoscopic, histological, and radiological features of glutaraldehyde-induced colitis. The main characteristics in these cases were the time relationship with colonoscopy and the severity of the clinical presentation, with symptoms of systemic reaction and intense and diffuse edema of the colonic mucosa. The clinical and morphological features may mimic those of colonic ischemia. All three patients recovered completely within a few days, one spontaneously and two after treatment with steroids, antibiotics, and mesalazine. Acute colitis following colonoscopy should be regarded as one of the complications related to colonoscopy, and it should be taken into account in the differential diagnosis of acute colitis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Aged
  • Colitis / drug therapy
  • Colitis / etiology*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Colonic Polyps / diagnosis
  • Colonoscopy / adverse effects*
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged