Gastrointestinal inflammation after bone marrow transplantation: Graft-versus-host disease or opportunistic infection?

B. Jones, S. S. Kramer, R. Saral, W. E. Beschorner, R. H. Yolken, T. R. Townsend, A. M. Yeager, A. Lake, P. Tutschka, G. W. Santos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Gastrointestinal inflammation after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation may be due to acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and/or superinfection with opportunistic organisms. Twenty-eight patients with barium studies suggesting gastrointestinal inflammation after bone marrow transplantation and either acute GVHD, viral infection, or both were studied to characterize the radiographic appearances of each disease and to determine whether acute GVHD could be distinguished from viral superinfection on the basis of radiographic findings. Thirteen patients had minimal or no acute GVHD, with viral infection proved in eight and strongly suspected in four others; the remaining patient was thought to have nonspecific inflammatory bowel disease. Five patients had pure acute GVHD, and 10 patients had viral enteritis superimposed on acute GVHD. Radiographic abnormalities were found in the gastrointestinal tract in both acute GVHD and viral infection and were more extensive than previously reported. Findings were similar in both entities, although gastric abnormalities were not seen in pure acute GVHD but only in viral infection, either alone or together with acute GVHD. Prolonged small bowel barium coating occurred in both viral infection and acute GVHD. Fold thickening evolved into fold effacement with a shaggy contour in two patients with viral infection. Colonic findings in all groups mimicked ulcerative colitis. Our data indicate that differentiation between acute GVHD and viral enteritis is not possible on the basis of radiographic findings alone. Both entities should be considered when gastrointestinal inflammation occurs after bone marrow transplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-281
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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