Ulcerative Colitis

  • H. Wehrli
  • A. Akovbiantz


Ulcerative colitis is a usually chronic inflammatory disease of the colon of largely unknown etiology [56, 69]. It was first described by Samual Wilkes of London in 1859 [22]. During the course of disease, which may last many years, periods of varying activity with differing degrees of suffering are often observed [96]. Ulcerative colitis, unlike Crohn’s disease, is generally limited to the mucosa and submucosa of the colon [113] except in cases where the disease takes an acute, fulminating, toxic course. Inflammation of the termi- nal ileum (“back-wash ileitis”) is seen only when the disease process involves the entire colon. Ulcerative colitis begins distally and may spread proximally and continuously throughout the large bowel. The rectum is involved in 98 % of cases [101]. The disease may have its onset at any age but most commonly appears in the second to fourth decades [24]. Childhood onset of ulcerative colitis is seen in 25 % of cases [23] and implies a very poor prognosis [113].


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  • H. Wehrli
  • A. Akovbiantz

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