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Crohn’s Disease

Crohn's disease is a chronic, recurrent condition that causes patchy transmural inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body's defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation that can involve any part of the gastrointestinal tract. It is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) along with ulcerative colitis Colitis Inflammation of the colon section of the large intestine, usually with symptoms such as diarrhea (often with blood and mucus), abdominal pain, and fever. Pseudomembranous Colitis ( UC UC Ulcerative colitis (UC) is an idiopathic inflammatory condition that involves the mucosal surface of the colon. It is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), along with Crohn's disease (CD). The rectum is always involved, and inflammation may extend proximally through the colon. Ulcerative Colitis). The terminal ileum Ileum The distal and narrowest portion of the small intestine, between the jejunum and the ileocecal valve of the large intestine. Small Intestine: Anatomy and proximal colon Colon The large intestines constitute the last portion of the digestive system. The large intestine consists of the cecum, appendix, colon (with ascending, transverse, descending, and sigmoid segments), rectum, and anal canal. The primary function of the colon is to remove water and compact the stool prior to expulsion from the body via the rectum and anal canal. Colon, Cecum, and Appendix: Anatomy are usually affected. Crohn's disease typically presents with intermittent, non-bloody diarrhea Diarrhea Diarrhea is defined as ≥ 3 watery or loose stools in a 24-hour period. There are a multitude of etiologies, which can be classified based on the underlying mechanism of disease. The duration of symptoms (acute or chronic) and characteristics of the stools (e.g., watery, bloody, steatorrheic, mucoid) can help guide further diagnostic evaluation. Diarrhea and crampy abdominal pain Abdominal Pain Acute Abdomen. Extraintestinal manifestations may include calcium Calcium A basic element found in nearly all tissues. It is a member of the alkaline earth family of metals with the atomic symbol ca, atomic number 20, and atomic weight 40. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and combines with phosphorus to form calcium phosphate in the bones and teeth. It is essential for the normal functioning of nerves and muscles and plays a role in blood coagulation (as factor IV) and in many enzymatic processes. Electrolytes oxalate renal stones, gallstones Gallstones Cholelithiasis (gallstones) is the presence of stones in the gallbladder. Most gallstones are cholesterol stones, while the rest are composed of bilirubin (pigment stones) and other mixed components. Patients are commonly asymptomatic but may present with biliary colic (intermittent pain in the right upper quadrant). Cholelithiasis, erythema Erythema Redness of the skin produced by congestion of the capillaries. This condition may result from a variety of disease processes. Chalazion nodosum, and arthritis Arthritis Acute or chronic inflammation of joints. Osteoarthritis. Diagnosis is established via endoscopy Endoscopy Procedures of applying endoscopes for disease diagnosis and treatment. Endoscopy involves passing an optical instrument through a small incision in the skin i.e., percutaneous; or through a natural orifice and along natural body pathways such as the digestive tract; and/or through an incision in the wall of a tubular structure or organ, i.e. Transluminal, to examine or perform surgery on the interior parts of the body. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) with biopsy Biopsy Removal and pathologic examination of specimens from the living body. Ewing Sarcoma that shows transmural inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body's defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation, characteristic “cobblestone” mucosa, and noncaseating granulomas Granulomas A relatively small nodular inflammatory lesion containing grouped mononuclear phagocytes, caused by infectious and noninfectious agents. Sarcoidosis. Management is with corticosteroids Corticosteroids Chorioretinitis, azathioprine Azathioprine An immunosuppressive agent used in combination with cyclophosphamide and hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. According to the fourth annual report on carcinogens, this substance has been listed as a known carcinogen. Immunosuppressants, antibiotics, and anti-TNF agents ( infliximab Infliximab A chimeric monoclonal antibody to tnf-alpha that is used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis; ankylosing spondylitis; psoriatic arthritis and Crohn's disease. Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs) and adalimumab Adalimumab A humanized monoclonal antibody that binds specifically to tnf-alpha and blocks its interaction with endogenous tnf receptors to modulate inflammation. It is used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis; psoriatic arthritis; Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs)). Complications include malabsorption Malabsorption General term for a group of malnutrition syndromes caused by failure of normal intestinal absorption of nutrients. Malabsorption and Maldigestion, malnutrition Malnutrition Malnutrition is a clinical state caused by an imbalance or deficiency of calories and/or micronutrients and macronutrients. The 2 main manifestations of acute severe malnutrition are marasmus (total caloric insufficiency) and kwashiorkor (protein malnutrition with characteristic edema). Malnutrition in children in resource-limited countries, intestinal obstruction Intestinal obstruction Any impairment, arrest, or reversal of the normal flow of intestinal contents toward the anal canal. Ascaris/Ascariasis or fistula Fistula Abnormal communication most commonly seen between two internal organs, or between an internal organ and the surface of the body. Anal Fistula, and an increased risk of colon Colon The large intestines constitute the last portion of the digestive system. The large intestine consists of the cecum, appendix, colon (with ascending, transverse, descending, and sigmoid segments), rectum, and anal canal. The primary function of the colon is to remove water and compact the stool prior to expulsion from the body via the rectum and anal canal. Colon, Cecum, and Appendix: Anatomy cancer.

Last updated: Mar 26, 2021

Editorial responsibility: Stanley Oiseth, Lindsay Jones, Evelin Maza

Epidemiology and Pathophysiology

Epidemiology

  • Incidence Incidence The number of new cases of a given disease during a given period in a specified population. It also is used for the rate at which new events occur in a defined population. It is differentiated from prevalence, which refers to all cases in the population at a given time. Measures of Disease Frequency: bimodal distribution Bimodal distribution Measures of Central Tendency and Dispersion
    • 15–25 years (slightly younger average than in ulcerative colitis Colitis Inflammation of the colon section of the large intestine, usually with symptoms such as diarrhea (often with blood and mucus), abdominal pain, and fever. Pseudomembranous Colitis [ UC UC Ulcerative colitis (UC) is an idiopathic inflammatory condition that involves the mucosal surface of the colon. It is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), along with Crohn’s disease (CD). The rectum is always involved, and inflammation may extend proximally through the colon. Ulcerative Colitis])
    • Smaller peak occurs between 50 and 70 years of age
  • Males and females are equally affected
  • Most common among whites and eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jews
  • In 2017, there were 6.8 million cases of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) globally.
  • Prevalence Prevalence The total number of cases of a given disease in a specified population at a designated time. It is differentiated from incidence, which refers to the number of new cases in the population at a given time. Measures of Disease Frequency of Crohn’s disease (CD) is approximately 200 per 100,000 adults
  • Incidence Incidence The number of new cases of a given disease during a given period in a specified population. It also is used for the rate at which new events occur in a defined population. It is differentiated from prevalence, which refers to all cases in the population at a given time. Measures of Disease Frequency of CD is approximately 320 per 100,000 adults per year

Risk factors

  • Smoking Smoking Willful or deliberate act of inhaling and exhaling smoke from burning substances or agents held by hand. Interstitial Lung Diseases (contrary to UC UC Ulcerative colitis (UC) is an idiopathic inflammatory condition that involves the mucosal surface of the colon. It is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), along with Crohn’s disease (CD). The rectum is always involved, and inflammation may extend proximally through the colon. Ulcerative Colitis)
  • Genetics Genetics Genetics is the study of genes and their functions and behaviors. Basic Terms of Genetics
    • HLA-B27 (encodes genes Genes A category of nucleic acid sequences that function as units of heredity and which code for the basic instructions for the development, reproduction, and maintenance of organisms. DNA Types and Structure for the major histocompatibility complex Major histocompatibility complex The genetic region which contains the loci of genes which determine the structure of the serologically defined (sd) and lymphocyte-defined (ld) transplantation antigens, genes which control the structure of the immune response-associated antigens, human; the immune response genes which control the ability of an animal to respond immunologically to antigenic stimuli, and genes which determine the structure and/or level of the first four components of complement. Innate Immunity: Phagocytes and Antigen Presentation [MHC])
    • NOD2 (affects the body’s ability to recognize and attack luminal pathogens)
  • Family history Family History Adult Health Maintenance of IBS IBS Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional bowel disease characterized by chronic abdominal pain and altered bowel habits without an identifiable organic cause. The etiology and pathophysiology of this disease are not well understood, and there are many factors that may contribute. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
    • Twin concordance rate is 55%
    • 15% of patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship with CD have an affected first-degree relative
  • Decreased physical activity
  • Decreased fiber intake
  • Increased dietary fat intake

Pathophysiology

The exact pathophysiology is unknown but likely associated with a combination of dysregulation of the intestinal epithelium Epithelium The epithelium is a complex of specialized cellular organizations arranged into sheets and lining cavities and covering the surfaces of the body. The cells exhibit polarity, having an apical and a basal pole. Structures important for the epithelial integrity and function involve the basement membrane, the semipermeable sheet on which the cells rest, and interdigitations, as well as cellular junctions. Surface Epithelium: Histology and the immune system Immune system The body’s defense mechanism against foreign organisms or substances and deviant native cells. It includes the humoral immune response and the cell-mediated response and consists of a complex of interrelated cellular, molecular, and genetic components. Primary Lymphatic Organs.

  1. Mutations of the NOD2 gene Gene A category of nucleic acid sequences that function as units of heredity and which code for the basic instructions for the development, reproduction, and maintenance of organisms. Basic Terms of Genetics → defects in the lamina propria Lamina propria Whipple’s Disease and epithelial barrier of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract → more pathogens penetrate the GI tract → recruitment Recruitment Skeletal Muscle Contraction and activation of cytotoxic Cytotoxic Parvovirus B19 cells
  2. Activation of Th1-mediated cells in the GI wall → release Release Release of a virus from the host cell following virus assembly and maturation. Egress can occur by host cell lysis, exocytosis, or budding through the plasma membrane. Virology of pro-inflammatory cytokines Cytokines Non-antibody proteins secreted by inflammatory leukocytes and some non-leukocytic cells, that act as intercellular mediators. They differ from classical hormones in that they are produced by a number of tissue or cell types rather than by specialized glands. They generally act locally in a paracrine or autocrine rather than endocrine manner. Adaptive Immune Response intestinal inflammation Intestinal inflammation Irritable Bowel Syndrome 
  3. Lack of the down-regulation Down-Regulation A negative regulatory effect on physiological processes at the molecular, cellular, or systemic level. At the molecular level, the major regulatory sites include membrane receptors, genes (gene expression regulation), mRNAs, and proteins. Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics of immune responsiveness after an infection or initial flare → chronic inflammation Chronic Inflammation Inflammation granulomas Granulomas A relatively small nodular inflammatory lesion containing grouped mononuclear phagocytes, caused by infectious and noninfectious agents. Sarcoidosis
  4. Intestinal tissue damage including edema Edema Edema is a condition in which excess serous fluid accumulates in the body cavity or interstitial space of connective tissues. Edema is a symptom observed in several medical conditions. It can be categorized into 2 types, namely, peripheral (in the extremities) and internal (in an organ or body cavity). Edema, ulcerations, erosions Erosions Corneal Abrasions, Erosion, and Ulcers, and necrosis Necrosis The death of cells in an organ or tissue due to disease, injury or failure of the blood supply. Ischemic Cell Damage
  5. Since the inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation is transmural, it may lead to intestinal perforation Intestinal perforation Perforated viscus or GI perforation represents a condition in which the integrity of the GI wall is lost with subsequent leakage of enteric contents into the peritoneal cavity, resulting in peritonitis. The causes of perforated viscus include trauma, bowel ischemia, infections, or ulcerative conditions, all of which ultimately lead to a full-thickness disruption of the intestinal wall. Perforated Viscus and fistulas.
  6. Chronic and repetitive episodes → scarring Scarring Inflammation, fibrosis Fibrosis Any pathological condition where fibrous connective tissue invades any organ, usually as a consequence of inflammation or other injury. Bronchiolitis Obliterans, and obstruction of the intestinal wall

Location and pattern of inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation:

  • May include any portion of the GI tract
  • The most common site is terminal ileum Ileum The distal and narrowest portion of the small intestine, between the jejunum and the ileocecal valve of the large intestine. Small Intestine: Anatomy and proximal colon Colon The large intestines constitute the last portion of the digestive system. The large intestine consists of the cecum, appendix, colon (with ascending, transverse, descending, and sigmoid segments), rectum, and anal canal. The primary function of the colon is to remove water and compact the stool prior to expulsion from the body via the rectum and anal canal. Colon, Cecum, and Appendix: Anatomy. 
  • Associated with skip lesions
  • The rectum Rectum The rectum and anal canal are the most terminal parts of the lower GI tract/large intestine that form a functional unit and control defecation. Fecal continence is maintained by several important anatomic structures including rectal folds, anal valves, the sling-like puborectalis muscle, and internal and external anal sphincters. Rectum and Anal Canal: Anatomy is often spared.

Clinical Presentation

The typical presentation Presentation The position or orientation of the fetus at near term or during obstetric labor, determined by its relation to the spine of the mother and the birth canal. The normal position is a vertical, cephalic presentation with the fetal vertex flexed on the neck. Normal and Abnormal Labor of Crohn’s disease is a relapsing disorder that includes:

  • GI manifestations:
    • Chronic, intermittent diarrhea Diarrhea Diarrhea is defined as ≥ 3 watery or loose stools in a 24-hour period. There are a multitude of etiologies, which can be classified based on the underlying mechanism of disease. The duration of symptoms (acute or chronic) and characteristics of the stools (e.g., watery, bloody, steatorrheic, mucoid) can help guide further diagnostic evaluation. Diarrhea that is usually non-bloody
    • Crampy abdominal pain Abdominal Pain Acute Abdomen (may be diffuse or localized to the right lower quadrant Right lower quadrant Anterior Abdominal Wall: Anatomy)
    • Odynophagia Odynophagia Epiglottitis or dysphagia Dysphagia Dysphagia is the subjective sensation of difficulty swallowing. Symptoms can range from a complete inability to swallow, to the sensation of solids or liquids becoming “stuck.” Dysphagia is classified as either oropharyngeal or esophageal, with esophageal dysphagia having 2 sub-types: functional and mechanical. Dysphagia (secondary to esophageal involvement)
    • Flatulence and bloating Bloating Constipation
    • Fecal incontinence Fecal incontinence Failure of voluntary control of the anal sphincters, with involuntary passage of feces and flatus. Pediatric Constipation
    • Signs of malabsorption Malabsorption General term for a group of malnutrition syndromes caused by failure of normal intestinal absorption of nutrients. Malabsorption and Maldigestion, with vitamin B12 and D deficiencies and iron Iron A metallic element with atomic symbol fe, atomic number 26, and atomic weight 55. 85. It is an essential constituent of hemoglobins; cytochromes; and iron-binding proteins. It plays a role in cellular redox reactions and in the transport of oxygen. Trace Elements deficiency anemia Anemia Anemia is a condition in which individuals have low Hb levels, which can arise from various causes. Anemia is accompanied by a reduced number of RBCs and may manifest with fatigue, shortness of breath, pallor, and weakness. Subtypes are classified by the size of RBCs, chronicity, and etiology. Anemia: Overview and Types
  • General manifestations:
    • Low-grade fever Low-Grade Fever Erythema Infectiosum
    • Signs of anemia Anemia Anemia is a condition in which individuals have low Hb levels, which can arise from various causes. Anemia is accompanied by a reduced number of RBCs and may manifest with fatigue, shortness of breath, pallor, and weakness. Subtypes are classified by the size of RBCs, chronicity, and etiology. Anemia: Overview and Types: fatigue Fatigue The state of weariness following a period of exertion, mental or physical, characterized by a decreased capacity for work and reduced efficiency to respond to stimuli. Fibromyalgia, pallor, dyspnea Dyspnea Dyspnea is the subjective sensation of breathing discomfort. Dyspnea is a normal manifestation of heavy physical or psychological exertion, but also may be caused by underlying conditions (both pulmonary and extrapulmonary). Dyspnea, palpitations Palpitations Ebstein’s Anomaly
    • Loss of appetite
    • Weight loss Weight loss Decrease in existing body weight. Bariatric Surgery
    • Failure to thrive Failure to Thrive Failure to thrive (FTT), or faltering growth, describes suboptimal weight gain and growth in children. The majority of cases are due to inadequate caloric intake; however, genetic, infectious, and oncological etiologies are also common. Failure to Thrive or growth delay in children
  • Extraintestinal manifestations:
    • Aphthous ulcers
    • Gallstone formation (secondary to decreased bile Bile An emulsifying agent produced in the liver and secreted into the duodenum. Its composition includes bile acids and salts; cholesterol; and electrolytes. It aids digestion of fats in the duodenum. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy acid reabsorption)
    • Kidney stones Kidney stones Nephrolithiasis is the formation of a stone, or calculus, anywhere along the urinary tract caused by precipitations of solutes in the urine. The most common type of kidney stone is the calcium oxalate stone, but other types include calcium phosphate, struvite (ammonium magnesium phosphate), uric acid, and cystine stones. Nephrolithiasis (usually calcium Calcium A basic element found in nearly all tissues. It is a member of the alkaline earth family of metals with the atomic symbol ca, atomic number 20, and atomic weight 40. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and combines with phosphorus to form calcium phosphate in the bones and teeth. It is essential for the normal functioning of nerves and muscles and plays a role in blood coagulation (as factor IV) and in many enzymatic processes. Electrolytes oxalate)
    • Pyoderma gangrenosum: rapidly progressive painful, red papules → pustules → deep ulcers with central necrosis Necrosis The death of cells in an organ or tissue due to disease, injury or failure of the blood supply. Ischemic Cell Damage
    • Erythema Erythema Redness of the skin produced by congestion of the capillaries. This condition may result from a variety of disease processes. Chalazion nodosum: painful, red nodules that usually appear on the shins Shins Erythema Nodosum
    • Eye inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation ( uveitis Uveitis Uveitis is the inflammation of the uvea, the pigmented middle layer of the eye, which comprises the iris, ciliary body, and choroid. The condition is categorized based on the site of disease; anterior uveitis is the most common. Diseases of the Uvea, iritis Iritis Inflammation of the iris characterized by circumcorneal injection, aqueous flare, keratotic precipitates, and constricted and sluggish pupil along with discoloration of the iris. Leprosy, episcleritis)
    • Peripheral arthritis Arthritis Acute or chronic inflammation of joints. Osteoarthritis, ankylosing spondylitis Ankylosing spondylitis Ankylosing spondylitis (also known as Bechterew’s disease or Marie-Strümpell disease) is a seronegative spondyloarthropathy characterized by chronic and indolent inflammation of the axial skeleton. Severe disease can lead to fusion and rigidity of the spine. Ankylosing Spondylitis, or osteoporosis Osteoporosis Osteoporosis refers to a decrease in bone mass and density leading to an increased number of fractures. There are 2 forms of osteoporosis: primary, which is commonly postmenopausal or senile; and secondary, which is a manifestation of immobilization, underlying medical disorders, or long-term use of certain medications. Osteoporosis
    • Clubbing Clubbing Cardiovascular Examination of the fingertips
    • Primary sclerosing cholangitis Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is an inflammatory disease that causes fibrosis and strictures of the bile ducts. The exact etiology is unknown, but there is a strong association with IBD. Patients typically present with an insidious onset of fatigue, pruritus, and jaundice, which can progress to cirrhosis and complications related to biliary obstruction. Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (much more common in UC UC Ulcerative colitis (UC) is an idiopathic inflammatory condition that involves the mucosal surface of the colon. It is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), along with Crohn’s disease (CD). The rectum is always involved, and inflammation may extend proximally through the colon. Ulcerative Colitis than CD)

Reactivation Reactivation Herpes Simplex Virus 1 and 2 of CD in an asymptomatic period can be triggered by physical or psychological stress Psychological stress Stress wherein emotional factors predominate. Acute Stress Disorder, sudden or drastic changes in diet, and smoking Smoking Willful or deliberate act of inhaling and exhaling smoke from burning substances or agents held by hand. Interstitial Lung Diseases.

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of Crohn’s disease should be suspected if a patient presents with the above-noted symptoms of abdominal pain Abdominal Pain Acute Abdomen, chronic intermittent diarrhea Diarrhea Diarrhea is defined as ≥ 3 watery or loose stools in a 24-hour period. There are a multitude of etiologies, which can be classified based on the underlying mechanism of disease. The duration of symptoms (acute or chronic) and characteristics of the stools (e.g., watery, bloody, steatorrheic, mucoid) can help guide further diagnostic evaluation. Diarrhea, fatigue Fatigue The state of weariness following a period of exertion, mental or physical, characterized by a decreased capacity for work and reduced efficiency to respond to stimuli. Fibromyalgia, and weight loss Weight loss Decrease in existing body weight. Bariatric Surgery. The initial workup includes the following:

Laboratory studies

  • Complete blood count will show anemia Anemia Anemia is a condition in which individuals have low Hb levels, which can arise from various causes. Anemia is accompanied by a reduced number of RBCs and may manifest with fatigue, shortness of breath, pallor, and weakness. Subtypes are classified by the size of RBCs, chronicity, and etiology. Anemia: Overview and Types, leukocytosis Leukocytosis A transient increase in the number of leukocytes in a body fluid. West Nile Virus, and thrombocytosis.
  • Complete metabolic panel to check if chronic diarrhea Diarrhea Diarrhea is defined as ≥ 3 watery or loose stools in a 24-hour period. There are a multitude of etiologies, which can be classified based on the underlying mechanism of disease. The duration of symptoms (acute or chronic) and characteristics of the stools (e.g., watery, bloody, steatorrheic, mucoid) can help guide further diagnostic evaluation. Diarrhea has caused electrolyte imbalance 
  • Iron Iron A metallic element with atomic symbol fe, atomic number 26, and atomic weight 55. 85. It is an essential constituent of hemoglobins; cytochromes; and iron-binding proteins. It plays a role in cellular redox reactions and in the transport of oxygen. Trace Elements deficiency and vitamin B deficiency Vitamin B Deficiency A condition due to deficiency in any member of the vitamin B complex. These B vitamins are water-soluble and must be obtained from the diet because they are easily lost in the urine. Unlike the lipid-soluble vitamins, they cannot be stored in the body fat. Water-soluble Vitamins and their Deficiencies
  • ESR ESR Soft Tissue Abscess and CRP

Stool studies

  • May be used to exclude other causes of inflammatory diarrhea Diarrhea Diarrhea is defined as ≥ 3 watery or loose stools in a 24-hour period. There are a multitude of etiologies, which can be classified based on the underlying mechanism of disease. The duration of symptoms (acute or chronic) and characteristics of the stools (e.g., watery, bloody, steatorrheic, mucoid) can help guide further diagnostic evaluation. Diarrhea (e.g., infection)
  • Clostridioides difficile toxin studies in cases of recent antibiotic use
  • May show traces of blood in the stool

Abdominal computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or X-ray X-ray Penetrating electromagnetic radiation emitted when the inner orbital electrons of an atom are excited and release radiant energy. X-ray wavelengths range from 1 pm to 10 nm. Hard x-rays are the higher energy, shorter wavelength x-rays. Soft x-rays or grenz rays are less energetic and longer in wavelength. The short wavelength end of the x-ray spectrum overlaps the gamma rays wavelength range. The distinction between gamma rays and x-rays is based on their radiation source. Pulmonary Function Tests with barium swallow Barium Swallow Imaging of the Intestines

  • Useful in assessing the extent and severity of disease as well as any complications, if present (e.g., perforation, fistulas, abscess, stenosis)
  • Signs of intestinal inflammation: wall thickening with mucosal enhancement, distortion, and hyperintensity
  • Mucosal ulcers that give a “cobblestone” appearance
  • Narrowing of the lumen can be seen as the “ string sign String Sign Hypertrophic Pyloric Stenosis 
  • Loops of bowel appear to be widely separated due to fatty proliferation, known as “creeping fat”
  • Pseudodiverticula: areas of dilation after a site of localized contraction due to an ulcer

Colonoscopy Colonoscopy Endoscopic examination, therapy or surgery of the luminal surface of the colon. Colorectal Cancer Screening with biopsy Biopsy Removal and pathologic examination of specimens from the living body. Ewing Sarcoma

  • Macroscopic findings:
    • Skip lesions in any portion of the GI tract, usually sparing the rectum Rectum The rectum and anal canal are the most terminal parts of the lower GI tract/large intestine that form a functional unit and control defecation. Fecal continence is maintained by several important anatomic structures including rectal folds, anal valves, the sling-like puborectalis muscle, and internal and external anal sphincters. Rectum and Anal Canal: Anatomy
    • Ulcers, fissures, and fistulas (cobblestone appearance)
  • Microscopic findings:
    • Noncaseating granulomas Granulomas A relatively small nodular inflammatory lesion containing grouped mononuclear phagocytes, caused by infectious and noninfectious agents. Sarcoidosis
    • Lymphoid aggregates of the lamina propria Lamina propria Whipple’s Disease
    • Transmural inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation

Management

Medical therapies for Crohn’s disease depend on the severity of the disease. The 2 main therapeutic goals are to terminate an acute, symptomatic attack and to prevent recurrent attacks.

In general, management consists of the following:

  • General measures: 
    • Smoking Smoking Willful or deliberate act of inhaling and exhaling smoke from burning substances or agents held by hand. Interstitial Lung Diseases cessation
    • Vitamin B12 and D for severe disease or prior to ileal resection
    • Avoidance of lactose-containing foods
    • Antidiarrheal agents Antidiarrheal agents Antidiarrheal agents include several drug classes, including opioid agonists, somatostatin analogues, adsorbents, and bile acid sequestrants. These medications mainly work through antimotility and/or antisecretory effects. Antidiarrheal Drugs (e.g., loperamide Loperamide One of the long-acting synthetic antidiarrheals; it is not significantly absorbed from the gut, and has no effect on the adrenergic system or central nervous system, but may antagonize histamine and interfere with acetylcholine release locally. Antidiarrheal Drugs, bile Bile An emulsifying agent produced in the liver and secreted into the duodenum. Its composition includes bile acids and salts; cholesterol; and electrolytes. It aids digestion of fats in the duodenum. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy acid-binding agents)
  • Targeted medical therapy: 
    • Antibiotics 
      • Metronidazole Metronidazole A nitroimidazole used to treat amebiasis; vaginitis; trichomonas infections; giardiasis; anaerobic bacteria; and treponemal infections. Pyogenic Liver Abscess or ciprofloxacin Ciprofloxacin A broad-spectrum antimicrobial carboxyfluoroquinoline. Fluoroquinolones
      • Used for complications such as abscesses and fistulas
    • Corticosteroids Corticosteroids Chorioretinitis 
      • Used for acute disease flare-ups
      • Duration is limited due to complications of long-term use
    • Immunomodulators 
      • Azathioprine Azathioprine An immunosuppressive agent used in combination with cyclophosphamide and hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. According to the fourth annual report on carcinogens, this substance has been listed as a known carcinogen. Immunosuppressants or mesalamine
      • Used after corticosteroid induction therapy to allow tapering and withdrawal of corticosteroids Corticosteroids Chorioretinitis 
      • Also used in combination with anti-TNF agents to induce remission Remission A spontaneous diminution or abatement of a disease over time, without formal treatment. Cluster Headaches and reduce the likelihood of treatment failure
    • Anti-TNF therapies 
      • Infliximab Infliximab A chimeric monoclonal antibody to tnf-alpha that is used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis; ankylosing spondylitis; psoriatic arthritis and Crohn’s disease. Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs) or adalimumab Adalimumab A humanized monoclonal antibody that binds specifically to tnf-alpha and blocks its interaction with endogenous tnf receptors to modulate inflammation. It is used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis; psoriatic arthritis; Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs)
      • For induction and maintaining remission Remission A spontaneous diminution or abatement of a disease over time, without formal treatment. Cluster Headaches
  • Surgical intervention: 
    • Intestinal resection, reserved for medical treatment failure
    • May also be necessary in case of complications such as fistulas, perforation Perforation A pathological hole in an organ, blood vessel or other soft part of the body, occurring in the absence of external force. Esophagitis, or obstruction
  • Preventative:  colonoscopy Colonoscopy Endoscopic examination, therapy or surgery of the luminal surface of the colon. Colorectal Cancer Screening to screen for colorectal cancer Colorectal cancer Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the 2nd leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Colorectal cancer is a heterogeneous disease that arises from genetic and epigenetic abnormalities, with influence from environmental factors. Colorectal Cancer (higher risk in patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship with UC UC Ulcerative colitis (UC) is an idiopathic inflammatory condition that involves the mucosal surface of the colon. It is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), along with Crohn’s disease (CD). The rectum is always involved, and inflammation may extend proximally through the colon. Ulcerative Colitis)
    • 810 years after initial diagnosis 
    • Every 12 years thereafter

Complications

  • Small or large bowel obstruction Bowel obstruction Any impairment, arrest, or reversal of the normal flow of intestinal contents toward the anal canal. Ascaris/Ascariasis:
    • Occurs due to transmural inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation, lumen narrowing, and stricture Stricture Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis formation
    • Presents with postprandial bloating Bloating Constipation, cramping abdominal pain Abdominal Pain Acute Abdomen, and high-pitched bowel sounds
  • Intestinal perforation Intestinal perforation Perforated viscus or GI perforation represents a condition in which the integrity of the GI wall is lost with subsequent leakage of enteric contents into the peritoneal cavity, resulting in peritonitis. The causes of perforated viscus include trauma, bowel ischemia, infections, or ulcerative conditions, all of which ultimately lead to a full-thickness disruption of the intestinal wall. Perforated Viscus: usually caused by performing a colonoscopy Colonoscopy Endoscopic examination, therapy or surgery of the luminal surface of the colon. Colorectal Cancer Screening during an acute flare
  • Fistula Fistula Abnormal communication most commonly seen between two internal organs, or between an internal organ and the surface of the body. Anal Fistula:
    • Occurs secondary to transmural inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation and perforation Perforation A pathological hole in an organ, blood vessel or other soft part of the body, occurring in the absence of external force. Esophagitis of intestinal wall
    • Symptoms vary based on organs involved. Fistulas may form between:
      • Loops of bowel (eneteroenteric)
      • Intestine and bladder Bladder A musculomembranous sac along the urinary tract. Urine flows from the kidneys into the bladder via the ureters, and is held there until urination. Pyelonephritis and Perinephric Abscess (enterovesical); associated with recurrent urinary tract infections Urinary tract infections Urinary tract infections (UTIs) represent a wide spectrum of diseases, from self-limiting simple cystitis to severe pyelonephritis that can result in sepsis and death. Urinary tract infections are most commonly caused by Escherichia coli, but may also be caused by other bacteria and fungi. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) ( UTI UTI Urinary tract infections (UTIs) represent a wide spectrum of diseases, from self-limiting simple cystitis to severe pyelonephritis that can result in sepsis and death. Urinary tract infections are most commonly caused by Escherichia coli, but may also be caused by other bacteria and fungi. Urinary tract infections (UTIs)) and pneumaturia
      • Intestine and skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions (enterocutaneous)
      • Intestine and vagina Vagina The vagina is the female genital canal, extending from the vulva externally to the cervix uteri internally. The structures have sexual, reproductive, and urinary functions and a rich blood supply, mainly arising from the internal iliac artery. Vagina, Vulva, and Pelvic Floor: Anatomy (enterovaginal)
  • Phlegmon/ abscess Abscess Accumulation of purulent material in tissues, organs, or circumscribed spaces, usually associated with signs of infection. Chronic Granulomatous Disease:
  • GI bleeding: 
    • Can occur acutely during a flare or chronically
    • May lead to anemia Anemia Anemia is a condition in which individuals have low Hb levels, which can arise from various causes. Anemia is accompanied by a reduced number of RBCs and may manifest with fatigue, shortness of breath, pallor, and weakness. Subtypes are classified by the size of RBCs, chronicity, and etiology. Anemia: Overview and Types
  • Perianal disease: 
    • Skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions tags
    • Anal fissures Anal fissures A painful linear tear at the margin of the anus. It appears as a crack or slit in the mucous membrane of the anus and is very painful and difficult to heal. Constipation and fistulas
    • Perianal abscesses
  • Increased risk of colorectal cancer Colorectal cancer Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the 2nd leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Colorectal cancer is a heterogeneous disease that arises from genetic and epigenetic abnormalities, with influence from environmental factors. Colorectal Cancer

Differential Diagnosis

The following conditions are differential diagnoses of Crohn’s disease:

  • Infectious Infectious Febrile Infant colitis Colitis Inflammation of the colon section of the large intestine, usually with symptoms such as diarrhea (often with blood and mucus), abdominal pain, and fever. Pseudomembranous Colitis: presents with acute onset fever Fever Fever is defined as a measured body temperature of at least 38°C (100.4°F). Fever is caused by circulating endogenous and/or exogenous pyrogens that increase levels of prostaglandin E2 in the hypothalamus. Fever is commonly associated with chills, rigors, sweating, and flushing of the skin. Fever and diarrhea Diarrhea Diarrhea is defined as ≥ 3 watery or loose stools in a 24-hour period. There are a multitude of etiologies, which can be classified based on the underlying mechanism of disease. The duration of symptoms (acute or chronic) and characteristics of the stools (e.g., watery, bloody, steatorrheic, mucoid) can help guide further diagnostic evaluation. Diarrhea. Common causative enteric pathogens include Shigella Shigella Shigella is a genus of gram-negative, non-lactose-fermenting facultative intracellular bacilli. Infection spreads most commonly via person-to-person contact or through contaminated food and water. Humans are the only known reservoir. Shigella, Salmonella Salmonella Salmonellae are gram-negative bacilli of the family Enterobacteriaceae. Salmonellae are flagellated, non-lactose-fermenting, and hydrogen sulfide-producing microbes. Salmonella enterica, the most common disease-causing species in humans, is further classified based on serotype as typhoidal (S. typhi and paratyphi) and nontyphoidal (S. enteritidis and typhimurium). Salmonella, Campylobacter Campylobacter Campylobacter (“curved bacteria”) is a genus of thermophilic, S-shaped, gram-negative bacilli. There are many species of Campylobacter, with C. jejuni and C. coli most commonly implicated in human disease. Campylobacter, Escherichia coli O157 Escherichia coli O157 A verocytotoxin-producing serogroup belonging to the o subfamily of Escherichia coli which has been shown to cause severe food-borne disease. A strain from this serogroup, serotype h7, which produces shiga toxins, has been linked to human disease outbreaks resulting from contamination of foods by E. coli o157 from bovine origin. Diarrheagenic E. coli:H7, Yersinia Yersinia Yersinia is a genus of bacteria characterized as gram-negative bacilli that are facultative anaerobic with bipolar staining. There are 2 enteropathogenic species that cause yersiniosis, Y. enterocolitica and Y. pseudotuberculosis. Infections are manifested as pseudoappendicitis or mesenteric lymphadenitis, and enterocolitis. Yersinia spp./Yersiniosis, and C. difficile. These infections Infections Invasion of the host organism by microorganisms or their toxins or by parasites that can cause pathological conditions or diseases. Chronic Granulomatous Disease may be self-limiting Self-Limiting Meningitis in Children or require antibiotic treatment and can be confirmed with stool cultures Cultures Klebsiella and polymerase chain reaction Polymerase chain reaction Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a technique that amplifies DNA fragments exponentially for analysis. The process is highly specific, allowing for the targeting of specific genomic sequences, even with minuscule sample amounts. The PCR cycles multiple times through 3 phases: denaturation of the template DNA, annealing of a specific primer to the individual DNA strands, and synthesis/elongation of new DNA molecules. Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) ( PCR PCR Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a technique that amplifies DNA fragments exponentially for analysis. The process is highly specific, allowing for the targeting of specific genomic sequences, even with minuscule sample amounts. The PCR cycles multiple times through 3 phases: denaturation of the template DNA, annealing of a specific primer to the individual DNA strands, and synthesis/elongation of new DNA molecules. Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)). 
  • Celiac disease Celiac disease Celiac disease (also known as celiac sprue or gluten enteropathy) is an autoimmune reaction to gliadin, which is a component of gluten. Celiac disease is closely associated with HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8. The immune response is localized to the proximal small intestine and causes the characteristic histologic findings of villous atrophy, crypt hyperplasia, and intraepithelial lymphocytosis. Celiac Disease: presents with abdominal pain Abdominal Pain Acute Abdomen and diarrhea Diarrhea Diarrhea is defined as ≥ 3 watery or loose stools in a 24-hour period. There are a multitude of etiologies, which can be classified based on the underlying mechanism of disease. The duration of symptoms (acute or chronic) and characteristics of the stools (e.g., watery, bloody, steatorrheic, mucoid) can help guide further diagnostic evaluation. Diarrhea following the consumption of gluten Gluten Prolamins in the endosperm of seeds from the triticeae tribe which includes species of wheat; barley; and rye. Celiac Disease. Associated with IgA IgA Represents 15-20% of the human serum immunoglobulins, mostly as the 4-chain polymer in humans or dimer in other mammals. Secretory iga is the main immunoglobulin in secretions. Immunoglobulins: Types and Functions anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies Antibodies Immunoglobulins (Igs), also known as antibodies, are glycoprotein molecules produced by plasma cells that act in immune responses by recognizing and binding particular antigens. The various Ig classes are IgG (the most abundant), IgM, IgE, IgD, and IgA, which differ in their biologic features, structure, target specificity, and distribution. Immunoglobulins: Types and Functions. Diagnosis is confirmed with intestinal biopsy Biopsy Removal and pathologic examination of specimens from the living body. Ewing Sarcoma demonstrating villous atrophy Atrophy Decrease in the size of a cell, tissue, organ, or multiple organs, associated with a variety of pathological conditions such as abnormal cellular changes, ischemia, malnutrition, or hormonal changes. Cellular Adaptation, crypt hyperplasia Crypt hyperplasia Celiac Disease, and intraepithelial lymphocytosis Lymphocytosis WBCs develop from stem cells in the bone marrow and are called leukocytes when circulating in the bloodstream. Lymphocytes are 1 of the 5 subclasses of WBCs. Lymphocytosis is an increase in the number or proportion of the lymphocyte subclass of WBCs, often as a result of an immune response to infection (known as reactive lymphocytosis). Lymphocytosis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome Irritable bowel syndrome Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional bowel disease characterized by chronic abdominal pain and altered bowel habits without an identifiable organic cause. The etiology and pathophysiology of this disease are not well understood, and there are many factors that may contribute. Irritable Bowel Syndrome ( IBS IBS Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional bowel disease characterized by chronic abdominal pain and altered bowel habits without an identifiable organic cause. The etiology and pathophysiology of this disease are not well understood, and there are many factors that may contribute. Irritable Bowel Syndrome): presents with recurrent abdominal pain Abdominal Pain Acute Abdomen; however, it requires 2 or more of the following: abdominal pain Abdominal Pain Acute Abdomen that improves with defecation Defecation The normal process of elimination of fecal material from the rectum. Gastrointestinal Motility, change in stool frequency, or change in stool consistency Consistency Dermatologic Examination (diarrhea-predominant, constipation-predominant, or mixed). The diagnosis is clinical, and the condition is not associated with structural abnormalities. 
  • Lactose intolerance Lactose intolerance Lactose intolerance (LI) describes a constellation of symptoms due to lactase deficiency (LD), the enzyme located in the brush border of the absorptive cells in the small intestine. Lactose is the disaccharide present in milk and requires hydrolysis by lactase to break it down into its 2 absorbable constituents, glucose and galactose. Lactose intolerance typically presents with bloating, abdominal cramping, diarrhea, and flatulence. Lactose Intolerance: presents with abdominal pain Abdominal Pain Acute Abdomen and diarrhea Diarrhea Diarrhea is defined as ≥ 3 watery or loose stools in a 24-hour period. There are a multitude of etiologies, which can be classified based on the underlying mechanism of disease. The duration of symptoms (acute or chronic) and characteristics of the stools (e.g., watery, bloody, steatorrheic, mucoid) can help guide further diagnostic evaluation. Diarrhea; however, symptoms also include flatulence and are associated with milk or milk-containing product Product A molecule created by the enzymatic reaction. Basics of Enzymes consumption. Secondary lactose intolerance Lactose intolerance Lactose intolerance (LI) describes a constellation of symptoms due to lactase deficiency (LD), the enzyme located in the brush border of the absorptive cells in the small intestine. Lactose is the disaccharide present in milk and requires hydrolysis by lactase to break it down into its 2 absorbable constituents, glucose and galactose. Lactose intolerance typically presents with bloating, abdominal cramping, diarrhea, and flatulence. Lactose Intolerance is often present in patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship with Crohn’s disease.
  • Ulcerative colitis Colitis Inflammation of the colon section of the large intestine, usually with symptoms such as diarrhea (often with blood and mucus), abdominal pain, and fever. Pseudomembranous Colitis: presents with bloody diarrhea Bloody diarrhea Diarrhea. Endoscopy Endoscopy Procedures of applying endoscopes for disease diagnosis and treatment. Endoscopy involves passing an optical instrument through a small incision in the skin i.e., percutaneous; or through a natural orifice and along natural body pathways such as the digestive tract; and/or through an incision in the wall of a tubular structure or organ, i.e. Transluminal, to examine or perform surgery on the interior parts of the body. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) and biopsy Biopsy Removal and pathologic examination of specimens from the living body. Ewing Sarcoma show continuous colonic lesions, mucosal and submucosal inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation, ulcerations, and crypt abscess Abscess Accumulation of purulent material in tissues, organs, or circumscribed spaces, usually associated with signs of infection. Chronic Granulomatous Disease. The loss of haustra Haustra Colon, Cecum, and Appendix: Anatomy is also visible.
    One of the most effective ways to learn about Crohn’s disease is to compare and contrast it with ulcerative colitis Colitis Inflammation of the colon section of the large intestine, usually with symptoms such as diarrhea (often with blood and mucus), abdominal pain, and fever. Pseudomembranous Colitis, the other form of IBD. The table below provides a comparison.
Table: Inflammatory bowel disease
Crohn’s disease Ulcerative colitis Colitis Inflammation of the colon section of the large intestine, usually with symptoms such as diarrhea (often with blood and mucus), abdominal pain, and fever. Pseudomembranous Colitis
Pattern of involvement Skip lesions in any part of the GI tract:
  • Most commonly the terminal ileum Ileum The distal and narrowest portion of the small intestine, between the jejunum and the ileocecal valve of the large intestine. Small Intestine: Anatomy and proximal colon Colon The large intestines constitute the last portion of the digestive system. The large intestine consists of the cecum, appendix, colon (with ascending, transverse, descending, and sigmoid segments), rectum, and anal canal. The primary function of the colon is to remove water and compact the stool prior to expulsion from the body via the rectum and anal canal. Colon, Cecum, and Appendix: Anatomy
  • Rectal sparing
Continuous lesions:
  • More localized to the colon Colon The large intestines constitute the last portion of the digestive system. The large intestine consists of the cecum, appendix, colon (with ascending, transverse, descending, and sigmoid segments), rectum, and anal canal. The primary function of the colon is to remove water and compact the stool prior to expulsion from the body via the rectum and anal canal. Colon, Cecum, and Appendix: Anatomy
  • Rectal involvement
GI symptoms Usually non-bloody diarrhea Diarrhea Diarrhea is defined as ≥ 3 watery or loose stools in a 24-hour period. There are a multitude of etiologies, which can be classified based on the underlying mechanism of disease. The duration of symptoms (acute or chronic) and characteristics of the stools (e.g., watery, bloody, steatorrheic, mucoid) can help guide further diagnostic evaluation. Diarrhea, may be bloody at times Bloody diarrhea Bloody diarrhea Diarrhea
  • May present with mucus at times
  • Stool frequency: UC UC Ulcerative colitis (UC) is an idiopathic inflammatory condition that involves the mucosal surface of the colon. It is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), along with Crohn’s disease (CD). The rectum is always involved, and inflammation may extend proximally through the colon. Ulcerative Colitis >> CD
Extraintestinal manifestations Cholelithiasis Cholelithiasis Cholelithiasis (gallstones) is the presence of stones in the gallbladder. Most gallstones are cholesterol stones, while the rest are composed of bilirubin (pigment stones) and other mixed components. Patients are commonly asymptomatic but may present with biliary colic (intermittent pain in the right upper quadrant). Cholelithiasis and nephrolithiasis Nephrolithiasis Nephrolithiasis is the formation of a stone, or calculus, anywhere along the urinary tract caused by precipitations of solutes in the urine. The most common type of kidney stone is the calcium oxalate stone, but other types include calcium phosphate, struvite (ammonium magnesium phosphate), uric acid, and cystine stones. Nephrolithiasis with calcium Calcium A basic element found in nearly all tissues. It is a member of the alkaline earth family of metals with the atomic symbol ca, atomic number 20, and atomic weight 40. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and combines with phosphorus to form calcium phosphate in the bones and teeth. It is essential for the normal functioning of nerves and muscles and plays a role in blood coagulation (as factor IV) and in many enzymatic processes. Electrolytes oxalate stones Primary sclerosing cholangitis Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is an inflammatory disease that causes fibrosis and strictures of the bile ducts. The exact etiology is unknown, but there is a strong association with IBD. Patients typically present with an insidious onset of fatigue, pruritus, and jaundice, which can progress to cirrhosis and complications related to biliary obstruction. Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis
  • Erythema Erythema Redness of the skin produced by congestion of the capillaries. This condition may result from a variety of disease processes. Chalazion nodosum
  • Pyoderma gangrenosum
  • Uveitis Uveitis Uveitis is the inflammation of the uvea, the pigmented middle layer of the eye, which comprises the iris, ciliary body, and choroid. The condition is categorized based on the site of disease; anterior uveitis is the most common. Diseases of the Uvea
  • Aphthous ulcers
  • Arthritis Arthritis Acute or chronic inflammation of joints. Osteoarthritis
Complications
  • Fistulas
  • Malabsorption Malabsorption General term for a group of malnutrition syndromes caused by failure of normal intestinal absorption of nutrients. Malabsorption and Maldigestion or short bowel syndrome Short bowel syndrome Short bowel syndrome is a malabsorptive condition most commonly associated with extensive intestinal resection for etiologies such as Crohn’s disease, bowel obstruction, trauma, radiation therapy, and vascular insufficiency. The short length of bowel results in insufficient surface area for fluid and electrolyte absorption. Short Bowel Syndrome
  • Perianal fissures and fistulas
  • Toxic megacolon Toxic megacolon An acute form of megacolon, severe pathological dilatation of the colon. It is associated with clinical conditions such as ulcerative colitis; Crohn disease; amebic dysentery; or Clostridium enterocolitis. Megacolon
  • Fulminant colitis Colitis Inflammation of the colon section of the large intestine, usually with symptoms such as diarrhea (often with blood and mucus), abdominal pain, and fever. Pseudomembranous Colitis
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding Gastrointestinal bleeding Gastrointestinal bleeding (GIB) is a symptom of multiple diseases within the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Gastrointestinal bleeding is designated as upper or lower based on the etiology’s location to the ligament of Treitz. Depending on the location of the bleeding, the patient may present with hematemesis (vomiting blood), melena (black, tarry stool), or hematochezia (fresh blood in stools). Gastrointestinal Bleeding
  • Intestinal perforation Intestinal perforation Perforated viscus or GI perforation represents a condition in which the integrity of the GI wall is lost with subsequent leakage of enteric contents into the peritoneal cavity, resulting in peritonitis. The causes of perforated viscus include trauma, bowel ischemia, infections, or ulcerative conditions, all of which ultimately lead to a full-thickness disruption of the intestinal wall. Perforated Viscus
  • Bowel obstruction Bowel obstruction Any impairment, arrest, or reversal of the normal flow of intestinal contents toward the anal canal. Ascaris/Ascariasis
  • Colorectal cancer Colorectal cancer Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the 2nd leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Colorectal cancer is a heterogeneous disease that arises from genetic and epigenetic abnormalities, with influence from environmental factors. Colorectal Cancer
Macroscopic findings Transmural inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation Mucosal and submucosal inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation
  • Friable mucosa
  • Loss of haustra Haustra Colon, Cecum, and Appendix: Anatomy (“lead pipe” appearance on abdominal X-ray X-ray Penetrating electromagnetic radiation emitted when the inner orbital electrons of an atom are excited and release radiant energy. X-ray wavelengths range from 1 pm to 10 nm. Hard x-rays are the higher energy, shorter wavelength x-rays. Soft x-rays or grenz rays are less energetic and longer in wavelength. The short wavelength end of the x-ray spectrum overlaps the gamma rays wavelength range. The distinction between gamma rays and x-rays is based on their radiation source. Pulmonary Function Tests)
  • Broad-based ulcers
Microscopic findings
  • No granulomas Granulomas A relatively small nodular inflammatory lesion containing grouped mononuclear phagocytes, caused by infectious and noninfectious agents. Sarcoidosis
  • Crypt abscesses and ulcers
  • Epithelial metaplasia Metaplasia A condition in which there is a change of one adult cell type to another similar adult cell type. Cellular Adaptation
  • Neutrophil infiltration
Treatment
  • Corticosteroids Corticosteroids Chorioretinitis
  • Antibiotics ( ciprofloxacin Ciprofloxacin A broad-spectrum antimicrobial carboxyfluoroquinoline. Fluoroquinolones, metronidazole Metronidazole A nitroimidazole used to treat amebiasis; vaginitis; trichomonas infections; giardiasis; anaerobic bacteria; and treponemal infections. Pyogenic Liver Abscess)
  • Immunomodulators ( azathioprine Azathioprine An immunosuppressive agent used in combination with cyclophosphamide and hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. According to the fourth annual report on carcinogens, this substance has been listed as a known carcinogen. Immunosuppressants)
  • Anti-TNF agents ( infliximab Infliximab A chimeric monoclonal antibody to tnf-alpha that is used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis; ankylosing spondylitis; psoriatic arthritis and Crohn’s disease. Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs), adalimumab Adalimumab A humanized monoclonal antibody that binds specifically to tnf-alpha and blocks its interaction with endogenous tnf receptors to modulate inflammation. It is used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis; psoriatic arthritis; Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs))
  • 5-ASA agents (mesalamine)
  • Immunomodulators ( 6-mercaptopurine 6-Mercaptopurine An antimetabolite antineoplastic agent with immunosuppressant properties. It interferes with nucleic acid synthesis by inhibiting purine metabolism and is used, usually in combination with other drugs, in the treatment of or in remission maintenance programs for leukemia. Antimetabolite Chemotherapy)
  • Anti-TNF agents ( infliximab Infliximab A chimeric monoclonal antibody to tnf-alpha that is used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis; ankylosing spondylitis; psoriatic arthritis and Crohn’s disease. Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs))
  • Colectomy

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