Intestine

Fecal stasis in the intestine: paralysis in the leg and risk of death


Massive constipation of a 57-year-old Australian was almost fatal

Paralysis in the right leg, severe digestive problems and a bloated stomach brought a 57-year-old Australian to the emergency room. Here the doctors found an unusual explanation for the appearance of the complaints. The case was described in the specialist magazine "BMJ Case Reports".

The doctors at Footscray Hospital in Australia were faced with a patient whose symptoms at first glance seemed difficult to relate to one another: his stomach was bloated, he complained of severe digestive problems and at the same time showed paralysis and pain in his right leg. However, all symptoms were caused by the same trigger, according to the surprising result of the subsequent examinations. The 57-year-old suffered from the life-threatening abdominal compartment syndrome.

Extreme pressure in the abdomen

The abdominal compartment syndrome (ACS) is "associated with significant morbidity and mortality" according to the doctors, which is why immediate treatment is required. The syndrome is triggered by enormous pressure in the abdominal cavity, although in the current case it initially remained unclear why the pressure in the abdominal cavity was so high in the otherwise healthy 57-year-old. The determined blood values ‚Äč‚Äčalso provided evidence of severe metabolic acidosis (life-threatening) and kidney dysfunction, the doctors report.

Stool of feces in the intestine

Subsequent examinations using computer tomography clearly showed the doctors the cause of the problems. The patient had massive fecal impaction - a buildup of feces in the large intestine. This extreme form of constipation led to a significant increase in pressure in the intestine, which caused it to expand in the abdomen and, among other things, occlusion of the right common iliac artery (occlusion of the right pelvic artery), the doctors explain. Overall, the patient was in an acutely life-threatening condition.

Emergency surgery saved the patient

In an intensive medical care that was started immediately, the enormous amount of stool was surgically removed from the patient's intestine, thus providing a decisive pressure relief. Although there were still significant kidney dysfunctions at first and the man was dependent on dialysis for several days, he was able to leave the clinic just three weeks after being admitted to the Footscray Hospital. Today, according to the doctors, he has fully recovered. However, the doctors were unable to explain why the extreme amounts of feces had accumulated in the patient's large intestine. (fp)

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