• Neutropenic enterocolitis has been previously described only by case reports and literature reviews. Of 499 adults with acute leukemia seen over a 23-year period (1962 to 1985), 13 cases (2.6%) of neutropenic enterocolitis have been reported. Eleven of these 13 patients were profoundly neutropenic (mean white blood cell count, 472/cu mm) and developed abdominal symptoms during either initial induction or relapse of acute leukemia. Histologic confirmation was available in ten cases, five cases after surgical resection and five cases at autopsy after nonoperative management. Three patients with isolated ileocecal inflammation without infarction at the time of surgery were successfully managed without resection. Five patients treated with surgery died four to 64 weeks postoperatively (mean survival, 21.6 weeks) of nonsurgical complications of leukemia. Three patients were still alive, one patient 42 months after right hemicolectomy and two patients five months after exploration only. All five patients managed medically died an average of 1.4 days (range, zero to four days) after the onset of abdominal pain. Survival in patients with acute leukemia who develop neutropenic enterocolitis is determined by early recognition and appropriate surgical exploration that can be expected to yield an acceptable operative mortality.
(Arch Surg 1986;121:571-574)