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March 1956

Acute Intermittent Porphyria with Acute Abdominal Findings and Palpable Mass

Author Affiliations

Columbus, Ohio
From the Surgical and Medical Services, University Hospital, and the Departments of Surgery and Medicine, College of Medicine, Ohio State University.

AMA Arch Surg. 1956;72(3):426-430. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1956.01270210056009

Acute intermittent porphyria may simulate acute appendicitis, acute cholecystitis, bowel obstruction, and other acute abdominal conditions. The following case is reported to emphasize that acute intermittent porphyria may be responsible for the clinical picture of an acute surgical abdomen and that it may even lead to the development of a palpable abdominal mass following roentgenographic barium studies.

REPORT OF A CASE  A 40-year-old white woman entered the hospital on Aug. 17, 1954, complaining of severe constant low-back boring pain and lower abdominal sharp crampy pain which had been present for approximately one month prior to admission.

Present Illness.  —The patient, who had apparently been well until July 18, 1954, had at that time a three-day episode of diarrhea. She recovered from this but, at approximately the end of July, noticed the. onset of very severe low-back pain in the upper sacral area. She had mild anorexia in conjunction with this