AbstractBACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Acute leukemia patients may develop life-threatening gut complications after intensive chemotherapy. We evaluated the role of abdominal and pelvic ultrasound (US) examination in early detection of these complications. DESIGN AND METHODS: A cohort of twenty adult acute leukemia patients undergoing intensive chemotherapy for remission induction entered the study. All chemotherapy regimens included cytarabine by continuous i.v. infusion for several days. RESULTS: Three patients had severe gut complications: 2 cases of enterocolitis and 1 case of gall bladder overdistension in the absence of calculi. In all cases the abnormality was documented by US examination: US scan showed thickening of the intestinal wall (two cases), and gall bladder overdistension with biliary sludge (one case). Immediate medical care included bowel rest, a broad-spectrum antibiotic, antimycotic treatment, and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor. All patients recovered from the complication. INTERPRETATION AND CONCLUSIONS: We believe that the favorable outcome obtained in our small series can be attributed to early diagnosis followed by appropriate treatment. Early recognition by US and immediate medical management can lead to complete recovery of severe intestinal complications in patients with acute leukemia undergoing intensive chemotherapy.
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Vol. 84 No. 3 (1999): March, 1999 : Articles
Ferrata Storti Foundation, Pavia, Italy
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