Overwhelming secretory diarrhea can be a major complication after bone marrow transplantation, associated usually with acute graft-versus-host disease (AGVHD). Radiographic evaluation may be hampered by nausea, vomiting, or debilitation. Computed tomography (CT) in seven such patients demonstrated diffuse wall thickening in the small intestine, colon, and/or mesentery. In two cases, prolonged adherence of oral contrast material to the luminal surface resulted in bizarre patterns of coating. In two others, a layer of low attenuation within the thickened wall produced a target appearance consistent with submucosal edema or hemorrhage. Small bowel dilatation and fold enlargement was the only finding in one patient. The role that superinfection of the gastrointestinal tract with opportunistic organisms can play in this immunocompromised group of patients is less well established. In this group of patients, the findings were due to AGVHD in two, AGVHD and viral enteritis in two, and viral enteritis alone in three. CT may be an alternative to routine contrast studies in assessing the extent of gastrointestinal tract involvement after bone marrow transplantation. Neither contrast studies nor CT were able to differentiate between AGVHD and viral enteritis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging