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Good functional outcome following severe neutropenic enterocolitis and perforation in a 48-year-old woman undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer


Neutropenic enterocolitis (NEC) is a life-threatening bowel condition, usually resulting from chemotherapy, with a mortality rate thought to be as high as 50%. Markers of poor prognosis include gastrointestinal perforation and bowel wall thickness radiologically detected to be greater than 10 mm. NEC is associated with severe neutropenia and predominantly affects the large bowel; however, we present a case of severe NEC with oesophageal perforation requiring transfer to a specialist upper gastrointestinal unit for corrective stenting. Despite initial bowel wall thickness of 20 mm in the ascending colon, two discrete episodes of bowel perforation and an inpatient stay totalling 89 days, the patient was discharged with full independence, a good quality of life and a plan for curative mastectomy plus axillary clearance.

  • intensive care
  • infection (gastroenterology)
  • breast cancer
  • chemotherapy
  • gastrointestinal surgery

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