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August 5, 1974

Barium Enema Complications

Author Affiliations

Moore Memorial Hospital Pinehurst, NC

JAMA. 1974;229(6):639-640. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230440015014

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To the Editor.—  The report of a case of barium enema septicemia as reported by Day and Cho (227:1258, 1974) calls to mind another case that occurred in an otherwise healthy individual.

Report of a Case.—  A healthy 64-year-old white man was admitted to the hospital because of a history of rectal bleeding. During the work-up, a barium enema was performed. Approximately 16 hours later, the temperature spiked to 40 C (104 F), with a tachycardia of 140 beats per minute and systolic blood pressure fall to 80 mm Hg. After 24 hours, the temperature was 39.6 C (103.4 F), the white blood cell count was 28,000/cu mm, and the systolic blood pressure was 90 mm Hg. He was given broadspectrum antibiotics and large quantities of fluid, to which he responded well. There was only ill-defined tenderness low in the pelvis, and his rectal examination findings were repeatedly within normal