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Ogilvie syndrome

Ogilvie syndrome
Classification & external resources
ICD-9 560.89
DiseasesDB 10868
eMedicine med/2699 
MeSH D003112

Ogilvie syndrome is the acute pseudoobstruction and dilation of the colon in the absence of any mechanical obstruction in severely ill patients.[1]

Colonic pseudo-obstruction is characterized by massive dilatation of the cecum (diameter > 10 cm) and right colon on abdominal X-ray.[2][3]



Recent surgery (most common following coronary artery bypass surgery),[4]neurologic disorders, serious infections, cardiorespiratory insufficiency, metabolic disturbances, and drugs that disturb colonic motility (e.g., anticholinergics or narcotics) contribute to the development of this condition.[2][5]


The exact mechanism behind the acute colonic pseudo-obstruction is not fully elucidated. The probable explanation is imbalance in the regulation of colonic motor activity by the autonomic nervous system.[1]

Signs and symptoms

Usually the patient has abdominal distention, pain and altered bowel movements.[2][5]


It usually resolves with conservative therapy stopping oral ingestions, i.e. nil per os and a nasogastric tube,[2] but may require colonoscopic decompression which is successful in 70% of the cases. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that neostigmine is a potent pharmacological way of decompressing the colon.[1] According to the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE), it should be considered prior to colonoscopic decompression. The use of neostigmine is not without risk since it can induce bradyarrhythmia and bronchospasms.[5] Therefore atropine should be within immediate reach when this therapy is used.[1][2][3]


It is a serious medical disorder and the mortality rate can be as high as 30%.[5]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Neostigmine for the Treatment of Acute Colonic Pseudo-Obstruction, by Ponec R. J., Saunders M. D., Kimmey M. B., New England Journal of Medicine, 1999; 341:137-141, Jul 15, 1999.
  2. ^ a b c d e Feldman, Mark; Lawrence S. Friedman, Marvin H. Sleisenger (July 2002). Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease, 7th edition. Elsevier. ISBN 9780721689739. 
  3. ^ a b Recent Advances in Critical Care Gastroenterology DANIEL S. PRATT and SCOTT K. EPSTEIN, Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med., Volume 161, Number 5, May 2000, 1417-1420
  4. ^ Ogilvie Syndrome as a Postoperative Complication Patty L. Tenofsky, MD; R. Larry Beamer, MD; R. Stephen Smith, MD Arch Surg. 2000;135:682-687.
  5. ^ a b c d Irwin, Richard S.; Rippe, James M. (January 2003). Intensive Care Medicine. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia & London. ISBN 0-7817-3548-3. 


  • Bynum TE (1998). "Chapter 342: Intestinal Obstruction and Peritonitis", in Stein JH: Internal Medicine, 5th ed., New York: C.V.Mosby. ISBN 0-8151-8698-3. 
  • Intensive Care Medicine by Irwin and Rippe
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Ogilvie_syndrome". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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