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Pediatrics. 2014 Sep;134(3):e880-3. doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-2213.

Pneumatosis intestinalis associated with Henoch-Schönlein purpura.

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Pediatric Gastroenterology, Department of Pediatrics, and
Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Beaumont Children's Hospital and Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, Rochester, Michigan.


Henoch-Schönlein purpura (HSP) is the most common vasculitis in children. It is a disorder of the inflammatory cascade leading to immunoglobulin A deposition and leukocytoclastic vasculitis of small vessels of skin, kidneys, joints, and gastrointestinal (GI) tract. A wide variety of GI manifestations are seen in ∼50% to 75% of patients with HSP. Diffuse colicky abdominal pain is the most common GI symptom. The small bowel is the most frequently involved GI site. Intussusception is rare but is the most common surgical complication. We report the case of a 2-year-old girl with a 5-day history of abdominal pain followed by a palpable purpuric rash. Her urinalysis, complete blood cell count, and tests of renal function were normal. An acute abdominal series was unremarkable initially, and abdominal ultrasound imaging showed ascites and thickened small bowel loops. She was diagnosed with HSP. The abdominal pain worsened, and an abdominal computed tomography scan demonstrated distal small bowel wall thickening and pneumatosis intestinalis in the descending colon. She was started on total parenteral nutrition and antibiotics and placed on bowel rest. She was given 2 mg/kg of intravenous immunoglobulin. Her abdominal pain gradually improved over the next week, and a repeat computed tomography scan showed significant improvement of the small bowel wall thickening and pneumatosis. The purpuric rash improved, and her abdominal pain resolved. We report a case of HSP and pneumatosis intestinalis, an association that has not been reported previously.


Henoch–Schönlein purpura; abdominal pain; pneumatosis coli; pneumatosis intestinalis

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