Acute Inflammatory Bowel Disease Complicating Chronic Alcoholism and Mimicking Carcinoid SyndromeBallo P.a · Dattolo P.b · Mangialavori G.a · Ferro G.b · Fusco F.c · Consalvo M.c · Chiodi L.a · Pizzarelli F.b · Zuppiroli A.d
aCardiology Unit, bNephrology and Dialysis Unit and cRadiology Unit, S. Maria Annunziata Hospital, and dDepartment of Cardiology, Local Health Unit, Florence, Italy
Dr. Piercarlo Ballo
Cardiology Unit, S. Maria Annunziata Hospital, via dell'Antella 58
IT–50012 Florence (Italy)
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We report the case of a woman with a history of chronic alcohol abuse who was hospitalized with diarrhea, severe hypokalemia refractory to potassium infusion, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, alternations of high blood pressure with phases of hypotension, irritability and increased urinary 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid and cortisol. Although carcinoid syndrome was hypothesized, abdominal computed tomography and colonoscopy showed non-specific inflammatory bowel disease with severe colic wall thickening, and multiple colic biopsies confirmed non-specific inflammation with no evidence of carcinoid cells. During the following days diarrhea slowly decreased and the patient’s condition progressively improved. One year after stopping alcohol consumption, the patient was asymptomatic and serum potassium was normal. Chronic alcohol exposure is known to have several deleterious effects on the intestinal mucosa and can favor and sustain local inflammation. Chronic alcohol intake may also be associated with high blood pressure, behavior disorders, abnormalities in blood pressure regulation with episodes of hypotension during hospitalization due to impaired baroreflex sensitivity in the context of an alcohol withdrawal syndrome, increased urinary 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid as a result of malabsorption syndrome, and increased urinary cortisol as a result of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis dysregulation. These considerations, together with the regression of symptoms and normalization of potassium levels after stopping alcohol consumption, suggest the intriguing possibility of a alcohol-related acute inflammatory bowel disease mimicking carcinoid syndrome.
© 2012 S. Karger AG, Basel
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