[Skip to Navigation]
August 1961

Ulcerative Colitis: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Author Affiliations


Arch Surg. 1961;83(2):181-189. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1961.01300140023004

Ulcerative colitis can be an acute or chronic inflammatory disease involving the colon. Early clinical features of ulcerative colitis include bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, anemia, fever, and weight loss.

Diagnosis  Proctoscopic examination in patients with ulcerative colitis reveals that the mucosa is edematous, granular, friable, ulcerated, and bleeding. (Fig. 9 shows a proctoscopic view of a normal colon, Fig. 10 the proctoscopic appearance of ulcerative colitis.) Application of a cotton swab to the mucosa causes a diffuse, petechial hemorrhage. Blood will be seen on the cotton pledget when it is withdrawn and examined.Roentgenologic examination of the colon reveals spasticity and increased motility, fine serrated mucosa, lack of haustra ("lead pipe" colon), and thickened, shortened appearance of the colon. (Fig. 1 is a roentgenogram of a normal colon, Fig. 2 a colon with evidence of ulcerative colitis.)To confirm the diagnosis of ulcerative colitis, the presence of other disease processes,