TOXIC DILATATION of the colon is a condition associated with ulcerative colitis. It may occur in the initial phase of the disease or it may develop during an acute exacerbation of a chronic process. It was first described by Madison and Bargen7 in 1949 who suggested the term "segmental dilatation." Marshak8 in 1950 termed the condition "megacolon" and noted it to be one of the most serious complications of ulcerative colitis. The term "toxic dilatation" has become accepted recently as more accurate terminology. This presentation offers the medical and surgical experiences of the authors in nine such cases encountered in their practice.
It is not the purpose of this article to reiterate the experience of those authors who contributed to the literature. An excellent summary of the history of the condition was published by Rowe15 in 1963 which was most inclusive. Roth and Backus14 have