[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
June 7, 1976

Clinical Spectrum of Pseudomembranous Colitis

Author Affiliations

From the gastroenterology services, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC (Drs Cammerer, Anderson, and Boyce), and Letterman Army Medical Center, San Francisco (Dr Burdick).

JAMA. 1976;235(23):2502-2505. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03260490020012

Five cases of pseudomembranous colitis (PMC) provided the opportunity for observation of clinical, endoscopic, and histologic features, and evaluation of potential modes of therapy. Although PMC may occur postoperatively or concomitantly with staphylococcal infection, it most frequently occurs following the administration of a variety of antibiotics. Patients with this disorder often have chronic, debilitating diseases. The clinical course may vary from a self-limited diarrheal illness to a fatal process. Onset with abdominal pain, diarrhea, and fever is characteristic. Barium enema contrast findings are nonspecific. Proctoscopy usually permits an accurate diagnosis. In the typical case, multiple elevated nodules formed by cream-colored plaques of pseudomembrane are scattered about the inflamed mucosa. Biopsy of these nodular lesions will confirm the diagnosis. Therapy must be individualized.

(JAMA 235:2502-2505, 1976)