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Am J Gastroenterol. 1994 Jul;89(7):1086-9.

Sterile epidural and bilateral psoas abscesses in a patient with Crohn's disease.

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  • 1Division of Gastroenterology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Baltimore, Maryland.


Crohn's disease primarily affects the distal gastrointestinal tract, yet it is a systemic disease that can involve nearly any organ. A psoas abscess complicating Crohn's disease is uncommon and usually originates from a fistulous communication with an adherent bowel. Spinal epidural abscess, an extremely rare complication, also appears to arise by fistulization from another organ involved with Crohn's disease. Previous reports indicate that abscesses in these two areas usually contain bacterial organisms, often mixed flora, consistent with seeding from a diseased bowel. This report represents the first case of Crohn's disease complicated by both bilateral sterile psoas abscesses and a coexistent sterile epidural abscess without evidence of a fistulous communication from the bowel. We report this case because psoas and epidural abscesses can present without typical signs and symptoms. Once suspected, aggressive diagnostic workup and definitive operative intervention is indicated. Failure to promptly diagnose and treat these abscesses may result in considerable morbidity.

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