The clinical spectrum of cytomegalovirus colitis in adults

Y. Einbinder, D. G. Wolf, O. Pappo, A. Migdal, E. Tsvang, Z. Ackerman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: Colonic cytomegalovirus reactivation rarely occurs in adults without inflammatory bowel disease or a known immunosuppressive state. Aim: To describe our experience with such patients. Methods: All consecutive admissions of patients with possible cytomegalovirus colitis, between 1995 and 2006, were reviewed retrospectively. Results: Nineteen patients were studied. Most of the patients were elderly with multiple co-morbidities. Three main forms of disease presentation were recognized: acute diarrhoea, chronic diarrhoea and lower gastrointestinal bleeding. Colonic mucosal intranuclear inclusion bodies were found in 12 patients. Thirteen patients had cytomegalovirus viraemia (either by polymerase chain reaction and/or by white blood cell-cytomegalovirus antigenaemia test). Ganciclovir therapy was given to only eight patients; only five of these patients survived. The other subgroup of 11 patients received only supportive therapy. Most of the patients from this subgroup had a prolonged and complicated hospital course; only nine patients survived. Follow-up colonoscopies were performed only in five patients (out of the 14 patients who survived). In four of these patients, chronic mucosal inflammatory changes were noted. Conclusions: Cytomegalovirus colitis occurs rarely in adult individuals. The disease may have various and multiple acute and/or chronic clinical manifestations. Clinical awareness of this condition is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)578-587
Number of pages10
JournalAlimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 2008
Externally publishedYes


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