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Clostridium difficile extraintestinal abscess: a rare complication
  1. Vamsi Krishna Kantamaneni, Primary author1,
  2. Krishna C Gurram, Second author2,
  3. Abhijit Kulkarni, Senior author2
  1. 1Internal Medicine, Allegheny Health Network, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
  2. 2Gastroenterology, Allegheny Health Network, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Vamsi Krishna Kantamaneni, vamsi.847{at}


Extraintestinal Clostridium difficile is rare. A 74-year-old man with a history of ulcerative colitis presented after a fall. Trauma work-up showed liver cirrhosis. Two days later he developed abdominal pain, distension, diarrhoea and leucocytosis. Stool tested positive for C. difficile. CT abdomen showed pancolitis with toxic megacolon. Total abdominal colectomy and ileostomy with a rectal stump was performed. He was discharged, but was readmitted with sepsis. CT abdomen showed a 10.4×7.2 cm fluid collection in the pelvis. C. difficile stool was negative. CT-guided abscess drainage grew C. difficile. Barium enema was negative for communication from the rectal stump to the abscess. The patient was treated with metronidazole for 2 weeks. In summary, extraintestinal C. difficile can develop from recent antibiotics use, gastrointestinal surgery and microperforations from toxic megacolon. We recommend abscess drainage, concomitant treatment with metronidazole and or vancomycin, and reimaging of abscess location 2–4 weeks after cessation of antibiotics.

  • Gastrointestinal system
  • Infection (gastroenterology)
  • Infection control in hospital
  • Gastrointestinal surgery

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  • Contributors VKK: reviewed the literature, wrote the manuscript. KCG: gastroenterology fellow on the case, was part of the care management team, editor of the case. AK: gastroenterology attending on the case, was part of the care management team, chief editor of the case.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained from patients.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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