Pseudomembranous Colitis

  • Etienne Danse
  • Daphne Geukens
Part of the Medical Radiology book series (MEDRAD)


Pseudomembranous colitis (PMC) is a severe form of colitis frequently due to the toxins produced by Clostridium difficile, mainly due to antibiotic therapy. It is characterized by a wide spectrum of clinical manifestations: diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, and leucocytosis. In patients with PMC, sonography may be required as first examination to rule out acute abdominal diseases. Specific sonographic findings related to PMC include pronounced colic wall thickening related to edema of the haustral folds and giving the “accordion sign” or a “gyral” pattern. The wall thickness ranges from 10 to 30 mm but the colic wall stratification is usually preserved. Reduced or absent mural flow is noted and ascites is present in 30–77 % of the cases. These signs allow the sonographic detection of the disease with a sensitivity of 78 % and a specificity of 94 %.


Ischemic Colitis Pseudomembranous Colitis Toxic Megacolon Acute Colitis Increase Wall Thickness 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of RadiologyUniversité Catholique de Louvain, St-Luc University HospitalBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.University Hospital CenterCharleroiBelgium

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