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J Pediatr. 1995 Oct;127(4):565-70.

Cystic fibrosis-associated colitis and fibrosing colonopathy.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA.



To describe our experience with cystic fibrosis (CF)-associated colitis and fibrosing colonopathy, and to assess treatment strategies.


We reviewed hospital charts and autopsy reports of all University of Minnesota patients with CF between 1975 and August 1994. We identified six patients with colonopathy and compared them with a cohort of 79 patients with CF in the same age range and seen during the same period.


All patients with colonopathy had bloody diarrhea; five of the six had abdominal pain. Stool frequency and related symptoms distinguished the patients with colonopathy from the cohort population. All took a higher median dose of pancreatic enzymes than the cohort population during the 3 months preceding the onset of symptoms (p < 0.002). For all six patients, barium studies revealed loss of haustration, and shortening and diffuse narrowing of the colonic lumen with relative rectal sparing. The distal ileal mucosa was irregular in four patients. A histopathologic study reveal fibrosis of the submucosa or lamina propria, and focal acute cryptitis in all six patients. Other features included ascites (2/6) and nodular regenerative hyperplasia of the liver (1/6). One patient continues to have symptoms, three had subtotal colectomy, and the condition of two improved after a regimen including a low-fat diet, withholding of pancreatic enzymes, and supplemental parenteral nutrition was initiated.


Fibrosing colonopathy represents a newly recognized gastrointestinal complication of cystic fibrosis. Affected persons have taken larger doses of pancreatic enzymes than similar patients with cystic fibrosis, and have bloody diarrhea. We developed a medical protocol that may avoid surgical resection of the colon in some of these patients.

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