Diagnosis and Management of CMV Colitis

Anat Yerushalmy-Feler, Jacqueline Padlipsky, Shlomi Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of Review: Cytomegalovirus (CMV) colitis is a relatively common end-organ infectious complication in immunocompromised hosts which negatively affects clinical outcomes. This paper presents the contemporary approaches to the diagnosis and management of CMV colitis and discusses some of the controversies of this condition, focusing on methods of diagnosis. Recent Findings: While certain risk factors for CMV colitis are well recognized, the clinical as well as endoscopic features of this condition are nonspecific. Rapid diagnosis and management are usually needed, especially in critically ill patients, which necessitate invasive diagnostic procedures. Hematoxylin and eosin staining of colonic mucosal tissue may show the typical viral inclusions associated with CMV colitis that are highly specific for this condition. However, the staining has low sensitivity compared to immunohistochemistry, which is considered the gold standard for diagnosis of CMV colitis. Tissue polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is highly sensitive for diagnosis, but is controversial for many reasons, detailed in this paper. Summary: A high index of suspicion is needed, and once diagnosis is made, treatment should be highly considered to improve the outcome of these severely ill patients. Noninvasive diagnostic tests will be available in the future and will hopefully improve the diagnosis and care of patients with CMV colitis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5
JournalCurrent Infectious Disease Reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2019


  • Colitis
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Immunodeficiency
  • Inflammatory bowel disease


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