Man paralysed after two-litre poo cuts blood flow
A MAN rushed to hospital when he lost feeling in his legs was suffering a horrendous case of faecal impaction.
Yep, that's a huge build up of poo - typically a long-term side effect of constipation.
The 57-year-old unnamed patient was in such a bad way, he could barely walk and doctors couldn't find a trace of his pulse in his right leg, which had started to go cold due to lack of blood flow.
He was suffering stomach pain, nausea, "absolute constipation", leg pain for three days, and had been unable to move for 24 hours.
But, after surgeons removed two litres of faeces from his bowels, manually in the operating theatre, he recovered after four days in intensive care.
Dr Simon Ho at Footscray Hospital in Victoria, Australia, said his team diagnosed their patient with abdominal compartment syndrome.
The condition occurs when the abdomen is subjected to increased pressure.
That pressure reduces blood flow to organs in the abdomen, and can lead to multiple organ failure and death.
He warned the man's case was a medical emergency, noting: "ACS is associated with significant morbidity and mortality requiring prompt treatment."
In this patient's case the pressure was coming from a "massive faecal loading" in his colon, a BMJ Case Report reveals.
Scans revealed the extent of his condition, and showed doctors the faecal mass was putting so much pressure on the right iliac artery - the major blood vessel that carries blood to the right leg.
Dr Ho and his team took the patient into the operating theatre, to perform a faecal disimpaction procedure.
He wrote in his case report: "Significant faecal disimpaction was performed manually under general anaesthesia with approximately 2L of faeces removed."
As soon as the procedure had taken place, the medics noticed the patient's abdominal swelling disappeared immediately, and blood flow to his right leg was restored.
The patient was transferred to intensive care to recover from his ordeal.
Four days later he was well enough to leave intensive care, and 13 days after his op he was able to walk again, unaided.
He was discharged from hospital 23 days after being admitted and he was seen for a check up eight weeks later.
Dr Ho said the cause of his condition is still a mystery.
"Significant faecal disimpaction was performed manually under general anaesthesia with approximately 2L of faeces removed," he said.
"No explanation has been found as yet to explain his significant faecal loading and constipation."
Constipation is very common, affecting adults and kids alike.
But it rarely results in such extreme cases of faecal loading.
Dietary factors are a major cause, not eating enough fibre, not drinking enough fluids, for example.