Pseudo-Membranous Enteritis.

Synonyms.—Croupous Enteritis; Diphtheretic Enteritis.

Definition.—An intense inflammation of the mucous membrane of both the small and large intestine, and characterized by a croupous exudate.

Etiology.—Several factors may give rise to this form of diseased condition. It may follow or accompany certain infectious diseases, such as pneumonia, typhoid fever, scarlet fever, pyemia, and kindred diseases. It may also accompany certain chronic cachectic diseases, such as cancer of the liver and Bright's disease; while the ingestion of certain drugs, mercury, arsenic, ammonia, lead, and certain acids, may be responsible for the disease.

Pathology.—The morbid changes that take place are twofold; the one affecting the mucosa in the ileum and colon, the other the solitary follicles.

In the first, an exudate of varying thickness and of a grayish white or grayish yellow color, is seen upon a deeply congested base.

In the second, the exudate is found around the opening of the follicles, in the center of which ulceration may be seen; in some the solitary glands are prominent and capped by the exudate.

Symptoms.—These are not characteristic, and the disease may only be discovered after death. When due to chemical irritants, there is generally severe vomiting and purging, the stools being mixed with more or less bloody mucus. If the result of any of the infectious diseases, there is usually pain and diarrhea and occasionally some of the exudate is seen in the stool.

Treatment.—This will be symptomatic. There will be sufficient evidence of sepsis to justify us in selecting the proper antiseptic. Echinacea will be thought of on general principles, though duskiness of tissue would be the most striking symptom. Potassium chlorate and hydrastin would be called for when there were offensive odors from breath and stool. Phytolacca will be used for glandular enlargement.

The Eclectic Practice of Medicine, 1907, was written by Rolla L. Thomas, M. S., M. D.