Case Study

Pseudomembranous colitis with negative Clostridium difficile PCR presenting with massive ascites: a case report and literature review


Pseudomembranous colitis (PMC) is characterized by the presence of an inflammatory pseudomembrane overlying the colonic mucosa, and is primarily caused by Clostridium difficile infection (CDI). PMC is often associated with the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics. Common symptoms include watery diarrhea, mucus in stool, abdominal cramps, and fever. We report a case of a 52-year-old female presenting with new abdominal distention, frequent bloody, mucoid, jelly-like diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Peritoneal fluid analysis showed neutrocytic ascites with low serum-ascites albumin gradient (SAAG). A diagnosis of pseudomembranous colitis was confirmed by flexible sigmoidoscopy. However, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for Clostridium difficile was negative. The patient was treated with metronidazole (500 mg IV q8h) and vancomycin (250 mg PO QID). Her symptoms resolved after several days of treatment with no ascites found by ultrasound. Neutrocytic ascites can be a complication of PMC. Physicians should also be aware that empirical treatment of Clostridium difficile may cause false negative diagnostic test result. 

Please insert your valid email address and click Free download