Pseudomembranous Colitis: CT Findings - Marked wall thickening often concentric - Accordian sign - Stranding around bowel - May be a pancolitis or segmental in nature - Ascites not uncommon
Pseudomembranous Colitis: Accordian Sign The accordion sign is seen when orally administered contrast material becomes trapped between markedly thickened haustral folds, giving the appearance of alternating bands of high attenuation (contrast material) and low attenuation (edematous haustra). The accordion sign is highly suggestive of PMC, although it is usually seen only in advanced cases. Its appearance may vary depending on the degree of edema of the haustral folds and the amount of contrast material trapped between the folds. With significant fold enlargement, barium that is deeply entrapped between markedly thickened folds may simulate intramural tracts.
“Pseudomembranous colitis (PMC) is an acute infectious colitis caused by toxins produced by an unopposed proliferation of Clostridium difficile bacteria in the colon . C difficile infection is responsible for virtually all cases of PMC and for up to 20% of cases of antibiotic-associated diarrhea without colitis. Over the past few decades, PMC has emerged as a significant medical problem, largely due to the increased use of prophylactic and broad-spectrum antibiotics.” Pseudomembranous Colitis: Spectrum of Imaging Findings with Clinical and Pathologic Correlation Kawamoto S, Horton KM, Fishman EK July 1999 RadioGraphics, 19, 887-897
“C difficile infection is nosocomial and can be epidemic or endemic in hospitals or nursing homes. PMC usually occurs as a complication of antibiotic therapy but is also associated with abdominal surgery, colonic obstruction, uremia, or prolonged hypotension or hypoperfusion of bowel. It also occurs with increased frequency in patients with severe debilitating disease such as lymphoma, leukemia, and advanced human immunodeficiency virus infection. PMC is a toxin-mediated disease that requires production of two toxins by the C difficile organisms for clinical expression. Toxin A is an enterotoxin, whereas toxin B is a cytotoxin .” Pseudomembranous Colitis: Spectrum of Imaging Findings with Clinical and Pathologic Correlation Kawamoto S, Horton KM, Fishman EK July 1999 RadioGraphics, 19, 887-897
"Although routine CT screening of antibiotic associated diarrhea is not advocated, the 88% positive predictive value of a diagnosis of C. difficile colitis in those who are scanned may merit consideration of treatment by clinicians on the basis of the CT results alone."
Evaluating the CT Diagnosis of Clostridium Difficile Colitis: Should CT Guide Therapy? Kirkpatrick IDC et al. AJR 2001;176:635-639