Intestinal Pseudo-Obstruction as a Presenting Manifestation of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: Case Report and Review of the Literature

Hien Nguyen, MD; Niharika Khanna, MD

South Med J. 2004;97(2) 

In This Article


Our case illustrates that intestinal pseudo-obstruction can be the onset manifestation of systemic lupus erythematous in a patient presenting with reversible acute renal failure, hydronephrosis, and small bowel obstruction. Identification of systemic lupus erythematosus as the underlying pathogenesis averted unnecessary surgery and facilitated appropriate steroidal therapy to reverse her nephropathy and bowel obstruction rapidly. Gastrointestinal complications are increasingly being recognized as manifestations of systemic lupus erythematosus, and intestinal pseudo-obstruction should be considered in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus presenting with abdominal pain, and vice versa. More research is necessary to elucidate the pathogenic mechanisms involving concurrent smooth muscle dysfunction of the urologic and gastrointestinal systems.


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