Colon mucosal pathology in infants under three months of age with diarrhea disorders

Jei Wen Chang, Tzee Chung Wu*, Ke Sheng Wang, I. Fei Huang, Betau Huang, I. Ting Yu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Background: Diarrhea is a common disease in infants. It may result in catastrophic events, especially in early infancy. Sometimes it is difficult to point out the diagnosis after initial examination. Sigmoidoscopy with mucosal biopsy may help in assessing the nature of the disease. The goals of this study are to evaluate the colon mucosal pathology in young infants with unknown diarrhea disorders and the clinical courses of different etiologies. Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of 64 young infants (Mean ± SD: 1.68 ± 1.01 months) in whom a diagnosis of unknown diarrhea disorder had been made after an initial investigation. All infants received fiberoptic sigmoidoscopy and mucosal biopsy with consent obtained. Results: The appearance of the colon mucosa under endoscopy were: 36 (56.2%) showing edema, 30 (46.8%) showing nodularity, 23 (35.9%) patients with focal erythema and friable mucosa, 11 (17.1%) showed erosion, 7 (10.9%) patients showing hemorrhage, and negative finding in one patient (1.6%). Colon mucosa pathologic findings were established: 40 (62.5%) had eosinophilic colitis (EC) and 19 (29.7%) had nonspecific colitis. The biopsies were normal in 5 cases; 81.5%(22/27) of patients with EC showed eosinophils in the stool smear which was significantly higher (P = 0.04) compared to the group II (9/17); 34 of 40 EC patients responded rapidly to changes in formula. Conclusion: Sigmoidoscopy and mucosal biopsy may be useful in the pathologic diagnosis of unknown diarrhea disorders. Eosinophilic colitis accounts for over half of very young infants with diarrhea disorders suggesting for allergic etiology. Patients with allergic colitis may exhibit a dramatic response to elimination of the offending proteins from the diet.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-390
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2002


  • Eosinophilic colitis (EC)
  • Infantile diarrhea
  • Milk protein allergy (MPA)
  • Sigmoidoscopy


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