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February 5, 1982

Reversible Ischemic Colitis After Intravenous Vasopressin Therapy

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, Hôpital Cantonal Universitaire, Geneva. Dr Lambert is now with the Department of Internal Medicine, Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc, Universite Catholique de Louvain, Brussels.

JAMA. 1982;247(5):666-667. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320300070030

VASOPRESSIN reduces splanchnic blood flow, decreases portal pressure, and has been used in the treatment of bleeding esophageal varices.1 Severe complications may arise from its use, in particular, myocardial and small-bowel ischemia.2 We recently observed reversible ischemic colitis in a patient who received intravenous (IV) vasopressin for variceal hemorrhage.

Report of a Case  A 54-year-old man with alcoholic cirrhosis was admitted to the Hôpital Cantonal of Geneva because of hematemesis. There was no history of angina, claudication, or hypertension. The patient was conscious and oriented, with a pulse rate of 80 beats per minute and a blood pressure of 120/70 mm Hg. Hepatosplenomegaly was present without ascites. Bowel sounds were normal.Initial laboratory values included the following: hematocrit, 35%; leukocytes, 7,200/cu mm; platelets, 59,000/cu mm; prothrombin time, 14.2 s (control, 12 s); BUN, 18 mg/dL; sodium, 138 mEq/L; potassium, 4.3 mEq/L; chloride, 104 mEq/L; total serum bilirubin, 2.9