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Generalized megaviscera of lupus: refractory intestinal pseudo-obstruction, ureterohydronephrosis and megacholedochus.

Dilated dysfunction involving multiple visceral organs has been reported in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction (CIPO) resulting from intestinal smooth muscle damage has presented in conjunction with ureterohydronephrosis and, more rarely, biliary dilatation (megacholedochus). While the molecular pathogenesis is largely unknown, observed histopathologic features include widespread myositis, myocyte necrosis in the intestinal muscularis propria with subsequent atrophy and fibrosis, preserved myenteric innervations and little vasculitis. High dose immunosuppression usually results in resolution of symptoms with recovery of smooth muscle function, indicative of an autoimmune etiology. We report a patient with SLE who presented with intestinal pseudo-obstruction, ureterohydronephrosis and megacholedochus, and present images that illustrate megaviscera simultaneously involving all 3 visceral organs. Since the co-manifestation of all 3 is unusual and has been reported only once previously, we have termed this rare clinical syndrome generalized megaviscera of lupus (GML). Although the SLE disease-activity parameters responded to aggressive immunomodulative therapy in our patient, clinical evidence of peristaltic dysfunction persisted in all involved viscera. This is a variation from the favorable outcomes reported previously in SLE patients with GML and we attribute this poor clinical outcome to disease severity and, most importantly, delayed clinical presentation. Since inflammation followed by atrophy and fibrosis are key aspects in the pathogenesis and natural history of GML, the poor response in our patient who presented late in the clinical course may be the result of ‘burnt out’ inflammation with irreversible end-stage fibrosis. Thus, early recognition and timely initiation of treatment may be the key to recover visceral peristaltic function in patients with GML.

Authors: Park, Frederick-D FD; Lee, Jeffrey-K JK; Madduri, Ganga-D GD; Ghosh, Pradipta P

World journal of gastroenterology. 2009 Jul 28;15(28):3555-9. Epub --.

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