Nontoxic megacolon

Last revised by Mohammad Taghi Niknejad on 14 Jan 2024

Nontoxic megacolon refers to colonic dilatation without mural abnormality and signs of colon toxicity. Although the definition of a megacolon has varied in the literature, most use the measurement of greater than 12 cm for the cecum, 8 cm for the ascending and transverse colon, and 6.5 cm for the rectosigmoid region as standard.

Nontoxic megacolon can be divided into acute (pseudo-obstruction) and chronic (congenital, acquired, and idiopathic) causes. The differential diagnoses include:

Nontoxic megacolon contrasts with toxic megacolon, an acute complication accompanied by mural abnormalities such as thickening, loss of haustral folds, pneumatosis or free gas.

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