We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Typhlitis?

By Emma Lloyd
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Typhlitis, also known as neutropenic enterocolitis, is inflammation of the cecum, a pouch at the beginning of the large intestine. This condition can be accompanied by inflammation of the appendix or ileum, the small intestine's final section. Inflammation of the cecum often leads to necrosis, or tissue death, of the affected structures. There are several risk factors and correlations for it, but the underlying cause is not well understood. Possible causes include damage to the mucosal lining of the stomach due to infection, injury, or cytotoxic drugs.

Inflammation of the cecum is particularly serious because it can lead to widespread infection, and this condition has a mortality rate of up to 50%. Death typically is the result of necrosis of the bowel, followed by a systemic inflammatory state called sepsis.

First described in 1960 in people being treated for leukemia, typhlitis has since also been noted in people with lymphoma, aplastic anemia, and AIDS, as well as in people treated for several other types of cancer. This inflammatory condition is a significant risk for children undergoing chemotherapy as a treatment for leukemia, and it is a risk for people who are immunosuppressed following an organ transplant.

Symptoms are similar to symptoms of acute appendicitis, with the most common pattern including pain and tenderness in the right lower quadrant of the abdomen, accompanied by fever, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. This condition is almost always accompanied by neutropenia, which is a decrease in the blood level of a type of immune cell called a neutrophil.

There is no standard treatment regime for typhlitis. Some medical professionals favor a mode of care called conservative management, and others believe that surgery provides the best opportunity for a good outcome. In addition, it seems that the outcome of treatment is often dependent on the patient’s condition rather than on the type of treatment used, so it is determined on a case-by-case basis.

Conservative management is a treatment regime that involves monitoring and treating the patient’s symptoms rather than taking any direct action to treat the cause of the condition. Treatment includes intravenous feeding and nasogastric suction, in which the contents of the stomach are drained via a tube rather than being allowed to enter the bowel. This strategy allows the bowel to rest and promotes healing. Broad-spectrum antibiotics are used to control infection, and anti-fungal medications might be used.

The surgical alternative typically is considered for patients who have not responded positively to the conservative management treatment strategy. Generally, surgery itself is performed on a case-by-case basis, and the surgeon might not decide how to proceed with the operation until he or she has actually viewed the intra-abdominal area. Possible surgical options include catheterizing the cecum to aid in drainage and the removal of part or all of the colon.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By candyquilt — On Apr 25, 2011

@turquoise-- I think all cancer treatments are called cytotoxic treatment. It's basically drugs that help kill cancer cells.

I don't think that these would cause typhlitis directly, but more indirectly. I agree that it must be because of the drugs' affects on the immune system. Even though these drugs are meant to kill cancer cells, inevitably they affect normal cells too. Every medical treatment comes with consequences in my opinion.

I don't know if antibiotics could prevent infections from cytotoxic treatment. I guess it wouldn't hurt but patients can't keep taking antibiotics forever. Treatments like chemotherapy can take months and years.

By turquoise — On Apr 23, 2011

I don't know what cytotoxic drugs are. Can you please explain what it is and how does it cause typhlitis?

And if infection is one of the major reasons for typhlitis, why can't we give cancer patients antibiotics as a preventive measure? Wouldn't this be better than trying to treat them with surgery later?

By burcidi — On Apr 21, 2011

I thought that typhlitis treatment was easy and not life threatening. I'm shocked that half the people who have it end up dying from it.

Since it happens mostly in cancer and AIDS patients, it's safe to assume that it's people with weak immune systems that suffer from it right?

One of my relatives is receiving chemotherapy now and she has become very weak because of it. I wish we could find alternative methods to deal with cancer because it's chemotherapy and radiation therapy that is weakening their immune system.

By anon97477 — On Jul 19, 2010

Briefly discussed and points out significantly the data i need to understand. more power!

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.